Cardin tried in court of public opinion; his peers wait and see
Del. Jon S. Cardin may be in the hot water of public opinion, but so far his colleagues in the General Assembly have no plans to open an inquiry into his national news-making engagement that diverted city police resources.
A joint committee on legislative ethics is waiting for the results of a police investigation before considering the matter, said Del. Brian K. McHale, the House chair of the ethics panel and a Baltimore Democrat. McHale emphasized that he thought Cardin exhibited poor judgment, but that he wanted all the facts before taking any action.
Police are investigating the use of on-duty marine and helicopter officers to stage a mock raid as part of Cardin’s Aug. 7 proposal of marriage to Megan Homer aboard a boat in the Inner Harbor. (Homer said “Yes.”)
“It would be helpful before anyone does anything to try to determine just how it was initiated and who made the decisions,” McHale said. “It doesn’t make it right, but it could have been something as innocent as one of his buddies saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we did this, and I can have these guys I know come over.’"
"Even though it was in bad judgment to do that, it could have been well-intentioned,” McHale added.
Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat, has promised to reimburse the city for any money spent on his behalf, and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said the delegate apologized “for putting the Baltimore Police Department in this kind of predicament and spotlight.”
The incident has been the talk of TV and print media and has sparked anti-Cardin chatter around the blogosphere. One blogger has called on readers to e-mail McHale and urge him to investigate, and to send complaints to William G. Somerville, the General Assembly’s ethics counsel. The committee renders advisory opinions and promulgates rules of legislative ethics.
McHale has not received any complaints, he said. Nor has Somerville. Yet.