3-2-12: State Senator Jamie Raskin on Ethics Reform
Two weeks ago, the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics recommended that Ulysses Currie, a Democratic state senator from Prince George’s County, be censured, forced to apologize, and banned from any leadership positions. (Report here.) The Senate voted unanimously–including Sen. Currie–in favor of the censure.
The committee had been meeting behind closed doors—including a meeting with Currie himself—to decide on recommendations about how to officially deal with Currie’s ethical transgressions while in office.
Last year, Currie was acquitted by a federal jury of bribery charges related to his work with Shoppers Food Warehouse. He failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars of that income with the General Assembly. During the trial, his counsel admitted that this was an ethical failing, if not criminal.
A special Senate committee spent two months proposals for ethical reform for the entire General Assembly; a report was due yesterday. Jamie Raskin, a Democratic state Senator from Montgomery County, is the chair of that committee, and he has already sponsored two ethics reform bills. One would require more public reporting of public officials’ financial disclosures. The other would create some exemptions for local and county officials’ public disclosures.
Today, we’ll speak about the future of legislative ethics with Sen. Raskin.
Hear our February 17 interview with Common Cause Maryland executive director Susan Wichmann about the committee’s recommendations: