- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. directed his attorney to look into one of his top aides’ connections to a company that is part of a federal investigation about possible illegal lobbying, the Baltimore Sun reported yesterday.

But the Republican governor said he has not discussed the inquiry in depth with the aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Edward B. Miller.

Mr. Ehrlich told the Sun that his chief legal counsel, Jervis Finney, checked out GrassRoots Interactive, the company once owned by Mr. Miller.

“I’m not concerned about it at all on the basis of what Jervis has told me,” Mr. Ehrlich told the newspaper.

Mr. Miller’s former company is under scrutiny because it once got a $2 million lobbying contract with help from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, indicted in a federal fraud and conspiracy case stemming from his role in the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats in Florida.

Mr. Miller sold GrassRoots Interactive a few weeks after he went to work for the state in August 2003.

Mr. Finney said his investigation turned up nothing of concern. “My recommendation is that everything goes forward as usual,” he said. “He’s a very valuable member of the governor’s advisers.”

One of Mr. Ehrlich’s three deputy chiefs of staff, Mr. Miller oversees more than a dozen state departments and agencies.

Mr. Miller has declined to comment since his former company’s name surfaced this fall in connection with Mr. Abramoff. Mr. Ehrlich’s office has said that Mr. Miller has cooperated with federal investigators for more than a year.

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