The Maryland legislature will reconvene in January and the Baltimore Sun reminds them how important it is to pass a bill creating a Clean Elections full public financing system for state legislative campaigns.
The bill nearly passed in the last session. It came just one vote shy. And Marylanders have been treated to enough scandals from their elected officials to know that the time has come to change the way candidates finance their campaigns:
Rarely does a week go by without a headline demonstrating the ethical quandaries posed by political fundraising. Most recently, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold drew attention for receiving more than $100,000 at a fundraiser hosted by Sallie Mae Executive Chairman Albert L. Lord, who, four days later, won a key approval from the County Council for an 18-hole golf course he's building.
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So it also may have been with the matter of political fundraisers held during the General Assembly special session last month. Lawmakers said the conflict was unavoidable, but how many donors had a direct stake in their votes? Probably quite a few.
And if the sad case of Thomas L. Bromwell, the once-powerful former state senator who next year begins serving a seven-year federal sentence for bribery, taught us anything, it's the corrupting influence of money. Even the appearance of impropriety can have a debilitating effect.
The fight for Clean Elections in Maryland is going to be an exciting one; check in with us in January to find out about ways you can get involved.