Lawmaker Wants Changes In Proposed Ethics Law

He says it’s ‘half-hearted.’


Frederick, Md (KM)  Some changes have been proposed for the ethics bill which is part of Frederick County’s Legislative Package.

The measure requires Planning Commission members who are running for office to be prohibited from accepting campaign contributions from developers who have pending applications before the county. “It did nothing to address any other potential conflicts of interest or special interest groups,” says State Senator Michael Hough (R). “It only dealt with developers. And while they are one of the largest donors and most pervasive influences, it didn’t deal with anything else.”

He sent a letter recently to Council member Tony Chmelik outlining some changes, including one to require Council members receiving  any contribution of $500 or more to report that to the public within 48 hours. “So if the County Council is taking donations, large donations, right prior to a vote, the public should know about that,” says Hough.

Other recommendations would prohibit businesses with pending bids or contracts with the county from making political contributions to local elected officials, and require members of non-elected boards and commissioners who open up campaign accounts to step down.

During their meeting on Friday, January 13th, local Delegates and State Senators sent the bill back to the County Council for input on further changes.

“I don’t want to move forward on a half-hearted weak ethics reform. I want to have a real strong ethics reform and that’s why I listed some ideas for the County Council and the County Executive,” said Hough. “I hope they’ll take those up and we’ll be able to pass something meaningful.”


By Kevin McManus