- Associated Press - Thursday, January 2, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure banning a family member from serving as a legislative candidate’s campaign treasurer will be introduced in Maryland, the state’s House speaker said Thursday, after a former lawmaker and her daughter pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud for improper use of campaign funds last year.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones discussed plans for the measure during an interview with The Associated Press.

“A bill will be introduced in which no longer your treasurer can be a family member,” said Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat.

The bill comes after a former state legislator pleaded guilty in October to federal wire fraud for taking more than $22,000 in campaign money for personal use. Tawanna Gaines, a Prince George’s County Democrat, is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Friday.

Gaines faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Federal authorities say sentencing guidelines for Gaines’ case call for eight to 33 months in prison.

The money was spent on expenses including dental work, hair styling, fast food and an Amazon Prime membership.

A plea agreement with prosecutors calls for Gaines to pay back at least $22,565.

Gaines had served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2001 and was vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. She resigned less than a week before she was charged in October.

Gaines’ daughter, Anitra Edmond, was her campaign treasurer. Edmond has pleaded guilty to a similar charge. Authorities say she funneled more than $35,000 from her mother’s campaign to pay for hair appointments, fast food, rent on unrelated business and personal phone bills.

Since 2005, Edmond had been treasurer of “Friends of Tawanna Gaines.”

Gaines’ scheduled sentencing this week marks the latest legal trouble for former or current state legislators in Maryland.

Last week, federal authorities unsealed charges against former Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat, for allegedly taking more than $33,000 in bribes in exchange for various legislative actions, including voting to increase the number of medical marijuana grower and processing licenses available to an out-of-state company.

Also last year, former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who served as a state senator before becoming mayor, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges involving sales of her self-published children’s books.

In 2018, former state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, a Baltimore Democrat, pleaded guilty to two federal counts of fraud for accepting $15,300 in bribes.

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