Friday, February 17, 2012
Robert Lang and Associated Press
Prior to the Senate approving his punishment, Sen. Ulysses Currie addressed his colleagues.
After today’s session, Senate President Mike Miller talked about the punishment, including explaining what a censure means.
For the first time since 1998, The Maryland Senate has voted to punish a senator for misconduct in office.
The Senate voted 47-0 to censure, Prince George’s County Democrat Ulysses Currie for failing to disclose his work as a lobbyist for Shoppers Food Warehouse.
The Senate approved a report of a joint ethics committee that recommend Currie apologize for his actions and be banned from serving as chairman of any committee or any leadership position in the Senate.
Currie told his colleagues on the floor that, “I have flaws and weaknesses,” but that he meant no harm.
He apologized for his actions, and said he accepts the committee’s findings.
Currie held back tears as he delivered a five minute floor statement.
Currie also voted for his own censure.
Senators chose to censure Currie rather than expel him, in part because he was found not guilty of any criminal charges.
Senator Norman Stone of Baltimore County, who co-chaired the ethics committee, noted that Currie admitted at his criminal trial that he broke numerous ethics laws.
Currie made no comment to reporters as he was entering or leaving the Senate chamber.
Senate President Mike Miller called the punishment serious.
Asked if by letting Currie stay in office the punishment was a “slap on the wrist,” Miller replied “that’s nonsense.”
In the ethics committee report made public on Thursday, the committee determined that Currie used his position as chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee for his own private gain and the gain of Shoppers Food Warehouse. Currie stepped down as chairman when he was indicted in 2010.
In November, Currie was acquitted of all charges in a federal bribery case.
… Who me? I didn’t do nutt’in. So, in the end what does it all really mean or accomplish because obviously the term “nonsense” ranks right up there with “illegal” in MD, and he is still on the payroll in office. …