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Ethics Panel Recommends Currie Be Censured & Barred From Leadership Posts

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Cleared of corruption charges. Now, the once-powerful State Sen. Ulysses Currie will soon be disciplined by his fellow lawmakers.

Mike Hellgren explains the just-released recommendations for Currie’s punishment.

An ethics committee has recommended Sen. Ulysses Currie be censured, publicly apologize and be barred from leadership positions after failing to disclose almost a quarter million dollars he got from Shoppers Food Warehouse while working on legislation to benefit the grocery store chain.

“We were meticulous. We were very thorough,” Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Harford County) said. “This is one of the busiest committees that I’ve been on. We spent a lot of time.”

A reporter asked Currie in November 2011, “What would you do differently to perhaps avoid another situation like this?”
“I have no idea. I don’t know,” he replied.

The once-powerful Currie failed to answer questions about ethical lapses after being acquitted on federal bribery and conspiracy charges.

“Well, we are going to open up and that’s why we have an ethics committee made up of House and Senate members to take care of issues like this,” said Sen. Richard Colburn (R-Caroline County). “I was here when Sen. Larry Young was expelled.”

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the committee’s proposal by the end of the week.

The committee could have recommended Currie be expelled. But if the Senate approves their recommendation just to censure him, it will allow him to keep his Senate seat representing Prince George’s County, a post he’s held for more than 16 years.

“We’ll see what happens,” Del. Neil Parrott (D-Washington County) said. “I’m sure they will be able to read the report and digest the information over the next few days.”

“I served with him in the House of Delegates and I served with him in the committee and I think he was always an honorable guy,” former delegate Mike Gisriel said. “I think over here, his word is his bond. And hopefully, he can put this behind him and move on.”

This was a unanimous decision by the committee. The full Senate has to vote on this. After he was acquitted, reporters had asked Currie about his future and whether he wants to continue representing his seat. He said he would do so as long as the people wanted him to.

Currie is the first senator punished since Larry Young was expelled in 1998.

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