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February 11, 2011

Currie's former campaign treasurer guilty of theft

Olivia Harris, the former campaign treasurer to Sen. Ulysses Currie, pleaded guilty to theft over $100,000 this afternoon in an Anne Arundel County Court, according to the Office of the State Prosecutor.

Harris withdrew $157,350 from Currie's campaign account from January 2007 to April 2010, prosecutors said. The money was spent "for personal use" according to the prosecutors, but they did not detail what she bought.

"Campaign officers are fiduciaries of the contributions that are committed to them," said State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt in a statement. "When they violate that trust, we will hold them accountable."

Harris worked as Currie's treasurer for 16 years and left her position in August shortly before she was charged. She could be imprisoned for 25 years.

Prosecutors said "there was no indication" that Currie, who once chaired senate's powerful Budget and Taxation Committee, was aware of the theft. Harris did not report the ATM withdrawals on campaign finance reports, prosecutors said, which meant the amounts in Currie's campaign account were "greatly over reported." 

Last year Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat, was indicted on federal bribery and mail fraud charges after an unrelated investigation. He relinquished his chairmanship to focus on his defense in that case, but remains in the senate.   

State prosecutors began probing Currie's campaign account after stories in The Sun showed that he was using his campaign money to pay for his federal defense attorney despite a letter from the Attorney General's office saying such use was prohibited. Currie's private attorneys disagreed, but he is now using a public defender in the federal case.



Posted by Annie Linskey at 1:58 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Campaign finance
        

Comments

Currie is entitled to a PUBLIC DEFENDER on his income?
that is disgusting, to make the people he ripped off and deceived pay fro his defense is outrageous!

Public Defenders are supposed to be for truly indigent clients. How much does he get paid a year just for 90 days worth of work? I suggest people complain to the FEDERAL Public Defender's office.

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About the bloggers
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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