WASHINGTON – An ethics panel moved to punish a Maryland state senator for violating the rules of the Maryland General Assembly on Thursday.
The panel called for censure, not expulsion, in the case of Sen. Ulysses Currie, a Prince George’s County Democrat.
Sen. Jamie Raskin, with the Joint Committeee on Legislative Ethics, says the panel called for censure and would strip Currie of all his leadership assignments. Currie has been chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The panel also is calling for a public apology from Currie.
The findings stem from an investigation of Currie’s work for Shoppers Food Warehouse. He was paid more than $245,000 as a consultant for the chain, but failed to disclose the payments. That’s a violation of Maryland General Assembly rule.
While Currie’s actions were serious enough that they prompted the ethics investigation and call for censure, they are not an indication of any criminal wrongdoing. Currie’s home was raided by the FBI in 2008 and he was subsequently indicted. In November, Currie was cleared in the federal bribery case which was based on his work for Shoppers.
The committee’s recommendations now go to the Senate for a vote. That vote is expected Friday.
If Currie is censured, it would be the first time a state senator has faced any sort of chamber discipline since Democrat Larry Lynn was expelled 14 years ago. He was the first lawmaker expelled from the Senate in 200 years. Lynn was cleared the next year of charges he accepted bribes from the owner of a health care company seeking state approval to serve Medicaid patients.