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O’Malley will return money from adviser after his plea
Question of the Day
ANNAPOLIS —Gov. Martin O'Malley said Thursday that he will relinquish campaign donations given to him by a former adviser convicted of tax evasion.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, said he will follow fellow state party members who have given back money they received from Richard Stewart, a member of the governor’s five-member redistricting advisory panel who failed to pay nearly $4 million in taxes from 2003 to 2008.
The governor had appointed Stewart, a Mitchellville businessman, to the Maryland Stadium Authority and to the redistricting panel, which laid the groundwork this year for Maryland’s new congressional map and a legislative map to be debated next month.
The governor says he was unaware of Stewart’s legal problems until last week when the Justice Department announced he had plead guilty.
Stewart resigned from the stadium authority after his conviction, but Mr. O'Malley declined to remove him from the redistricting panel, arguing there was no point since the group had completed its work.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, a Democrat, announced this week he will return $5,750 he received from Stewart.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, has said he will donate a $1,500 contribution form Stewart to charity.
State GOP Executive Director David Ferguson said Thursday that he is fine with the governor giving up the money but thinks Stewart’s two state appointments are signs of bigger problems.
Mr. Ferguson questioned Stewart’s qualifications and the vetting processes for both posts. And he suggested that Stewart received his appointments based largely on the donations, not on his public-service experience.
“The overarching problem in Maryland is buying access, and pay-to-play is very serious,” Mr. Ferguson said. “There are a lot of questions the governor still needs to answer.”
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About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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