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Judicial Watch • State Ethics Commission MD Complaint Alleging Violation of Section 15 506

State Ethics Commission MD Complaint Alleging Violation of Section 15 506

State Ethics Commission MD Complaint Alleging Violation of Section 15 506

Page 1: State Ethics Commission MD Complaint Alleging Violation of Section 15 506


Number of Pages:11

Date Created:September 24, 2012

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

Tags:Alleging, Violation, Ethics, Commission, complaint

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Judicial BtG(! one is abu1Jc the law! September 24, 2012 Paul Vettori, Chairman State Ethics Commission Calvert Street, 3rd Floor Annapolis, 2140 Re: 	Complaint Alleging Violation Section 15-506, State Government Article, Maryland Code Annotated, Governor Martin O'Malley Dear Chairman Vettori: Judicial Watch not-for-profit, educational foundation that seeks promote integrity, transparency, and accountability government and fidelity the rule oflaw. Judicial Watch has eighteen-year record combatting government corruption both the national and state level. Judicial Watch also has approximately 24,000 supporters the State Maryland. behalf Judicial Watch's Maryland supporters and the public interest, Judicial Watch hereby submits this complaint pursuant Section 15-401 the State Government Article the Maryland Code and requests investigation and hearing into violation Section 15-506 the State Government Article Governor Martin 0'Malley. Section 15-506 the State Government Article states, "An official employee may not intentionally use the prestige office public position for that official's employee's private gain that another." definition, the Governor Maryland official and falls within the scope this provision. See Md. Code Ann, State Gov't  15-102(bb) 15-102(11). Private gain obviously includes personal political objectives, such seeing favored candidate win election achieving the desired outcome ballot question. this regard, January 2012, the State Ethics Commission issued memorandum all state employees, board members, and cai1didates plainly stating, "As practical matter, [Section 15-506] prohibits the use State time, materials, equipment, facilities for political purposes.'' See January 2012 Memorandum attached Exhibit State materials obviously include official State letterhead, and, thus, the Commission has already concluded that officials and employees the State Maryland are prohibited from using official State letterhead campaign for specific political candidates and ballot questions. Id. Despite this clear prohibition, September 18, 2012, Governor Martin O'Malley sent letter members the Democratic State Central Committee, which the governing body the Maryland Democratic Party, expressly advocating for the Governor's personal political 425 Third St., SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024 Tel: (202) 646-5172 1-888-593-8442 FAX: (202) 646-5199 Email: Wiw.JudicialWatch.urg 
Paul Vettori September 24, 2012 Page 2of3 
objectives. See September 18, 2012 Letter from Governor O'MaHey attached Exhibit ("The Letter"). The Letter official State letterhead. contains the Great Seal the State Maryland well the name, address, and telephone nwnber the official who used the stationery. this instance, the letterhead clearly indicates that the sender was Governor O'Malley: 

(410) 974-3901 
{TOLL FREE) 1-800-811-8336 

The recipients the Letter, well anyone else who happened review the Letter, would 
have doubt that the Letter was being sent the Governor Maryland his official 
With respect the substance the September 18, 2012 letter, could not clearer that the purpose the Letter was political. The Letter states: don't need remind you how important this election is. Whether it's protecting the investments make together our schools, re-electing Senator Cardin, Congressman Van Hollen, and President Obama, helping elect new Democratic Congressional maj01ity sending John Delaney Congress -the work together during this election cycle will determine what type work we're able together for the people our State the years come. 
I'm writing ask not only for your vote, but for your voice. addition asking the governing body the Maryland Democratic Party vote for specific political candidates, the Governor requests that each member campaign FOR specific questions the November 2012 ballot. other words, Governor O'Malley used his official letterhead reach out Marylanders and ask them vote for specific political candidates and for specific ballot questions. clear that, minimum, Governor O'Malley violated Section 15-506, using both the prestige his office and official State letterhead achieve his personal political objectives. this time, unknown what extent Governor O'Malley used other State time, materials, equipment, facilities campaign for specific political candidates and for specific ballot questions. not know whether other officials employees expended time during the business day draft send the September 18, 2012 letter. Nor know whether State 
425 Third St., SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024 'Tel: (202) 646-5172 1-888-593-8442 FAX: (202) 646-5199 Email:  
Paul Vettori September 24, 2012 Page 3of3 
printers, paper, and envelopes were used. Nor know whether State monies were used pay for the postage necessary send the letter. Accordingly, request investigation and hearing into violation Section 15-506 the State Govetnment Article Governor Martin O'Malley. 
Thank you for your prompt attention this matter. 

425 Third St., SW, Sujfe 800, Washington, 20024 Tel: (202) 646-5172 1-888-593-8442 FAX: (202) 64-0-5199 Email: 

January 2012 
TO: State Employees, Board Mcmbe1s and Candidates 
SUBJECT: Political Activity 
Generally, political activity questions involve consideration the Election Law Article and the State Persollllcl and Pensions Article, particularly 2-304 and 2-307(b) the 
State Personnel and Pensions Article. The Office the Attorney General can provide specific guidance reg-Mding the provisions the Election Law Article State Persormel and Pensions 
Article. some instances, the Public Ethics Law (State Government Article-Title 15), 
primarily  15-506 (use prestige),  15-502(b) (secondary employment), and  15-507 (use 
confidential infonnation) may impact political activities State employees and officials. 
Additionally, candidates for State office must review 15-713 and 15-714 the Public 
Ethics Law, which relate campaign finance activities individual regulated lobbyists, and 
 15-715, which telatcs campaign finance disclosure. The Federal Hatch Act, agency rules, other statutes may also have impact political activityFor example, the Hatch Act 
can restrict certain political activity persons whose employment involves activity 
financed whole part federal funding. (This memo does not attempt cover the 
impact the Hatch Act political activity.) 
The State Personnel and Pensions Article generally authorizes participati.on 
political campaigns State employees but does not allow political activity State time job location. The statute also prohibits requiring employee contribute 
political campaign render political services. Similarly, 15-506 the Public Ethics 
Law prohibits employees from using their positions benefit themselves others. 
practical matter, this restriction prohibits the use ofState time, materials, equipment, 
facilities for political purposes. 
Volunteer Campaign Involvement 
State law permits State employees provide volunteer services for campaigns. 
The Ethics Commission has ruled consistently that the Public Ethics Law does not limit 
this activity long the official employee docs not use State time, materials, 
facilities, other resources and the volunteer docs not improperly use the State position 
for political purposes. Slate employees m.ay not use their Slate position, State time, State 

materials, State equipment any way involve people other employees 
political campaigns. For example, supervisors should not take any action that would 
suggest that they are urging requiring subordinates engage campaign activity. Law enforcement and other unifonncd personnel may not use State uniforms equipment political advertising. State officials and employees may not use 
confidential infonnation for political activity purposes. 
Activity Paid Campaign Worker 
This type activity involves the same issues and limitations volunteer activity, such misuse position and use State time, facilities materials. Additionally, because paid campaign work employment, official employee must also consider and evaluate the employment restriction provisions  15-502(b) the Public Ethics Law. For example, employee may not have campaign employment with entity that does business with the employee's State agency thal would impair the 
employee's ability the State job. possible that campaign employment, such 
working for campaign staff while continuing State position, could raise questions 
about the ability employee objective the employee's State job. Both paid 
workers and volunteers must maintain clear separation between working Slate job 
and handling matters for campaign campaign. Obviously, one way reduce the 
potential for problems utilize, with the employing State agency approval, fonnal 
extended leave absence for paid campaign activities. 
Running for Office Holding Office While Remaining State Employee State 
Generally, the Public Ethics Law and other State laws have been interprered allow State employees and officials run for public office provided they not use State 
time, facilities, equipment, otherwise misuse their State position confidential 
infonnalion. The State has chosen treat ethics and campaign finance 
separate activities. The State Ethics Commission has advised candidates who have State 
employment board memberships that they should avoid interaction between their State 
duties and campaign contributions. Because the potential application the prestige 
provisions the Ethics Law non-elected offcials and employees, the Commission has
iadvised candidates not solicit contributions from people whom they might contact their official capacities participate matters involving donors those refusing make contributions. 
Whether successful candidate may serve and remain State position requires 
case-by-case analysis. For example, the State Ethics Commission has ruled that Public
Service Commission Hearing Examiner could not reman his State position and serve 
a.Sa County Councilman. (Commission Opinion No. 85-13.) the other band, the 
Commission has ruled that County Executive could remain University Professor 
while serving county official. 
(Commission Opinion No. 84-2.) Other opinions prohibit full-time City Councilman large jurisdiction from simultaneously serving Statu employee (Opinion 00-3), Slate police officer from serving City Councilman assigned public safety (Opi nion 00-7) and State employee working the Department Housing Corrununity Development (DHCD) from serving 
Town council where the Town participated several DHCD programs and the employee worked unit which some programs were initiated and monitored (Opinion 01-1 
Other significant restraints holding State job while serving elected official may arise under the requirements the State Constitution that prevent tbe holding elected position while holding Stalejob that job considered office profit. (Questions regarding the constitutional requirements should referred the Attorney General.) summary, election laws, pton, 20036, 1-800-854-2824.  



-Page Two- have also increased our investment Montgomery County school construction. Since 2007, together State, have invested $242.3 million Montgomery County school buildings -more than any other Maryland jurisdiction. 

-Page Three 
forward always found through greater respect for the equal rights all; for the human dignity all. 
Thanks again for what you for Montgomery County, for Maryland, and for the goals share move America forward, not back!