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August 20, 2009

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.

Posted by Laura Smitherman at 3:51 PM | | Comments (5)
        

Comments

Cardin probably threatened the police with budget cuts. Has anyone looked into intimidation?

Cardin made a bad call but if this was a private citzen who would care. Isn't the mayor being indited on charges of theft? Sure makes a marriage proposal look innocent.

His peers are waiting to see, they are waiting to act... what ever happened of the inquiry into whether Senator Currie broke the ethics rules, or Senator Exum, or Sen McFadden, or Delegate Robinson, or Delegate Ross, or Councilman Moxley or Mayor Dixon... it seems that they would rather protect each other than do anything about ethics. Can you name the last time a legislator was actually santioned?

snail mail takes time

Can you name the last time a legislator was actually santioned?

Wasn't that Larry Young? He was the first tossed out in like 100 years!

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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