ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– “I am deeply sorry and I will never do so again.” Those are the words directly from State Sen. Ulysses Currie after fellow lawmakers unanimously vote to censure him for a conflict of interest.
Weijia Jiang has more on Currie’s punishment and his apology.
Even before the vote, Currie apologized for bringing dishonor to the chamber and then asked his colleagues to vote in favor of punishing him.
On the Maryland Senate floor, the vote was unanimous. Sen. Currie himself approved a resolution that he be censured for abusing power and prestige.
“I will not stand here and make excuses,” he said. “I am a person with flaws and I do have weaknesses. I never intended to do anything that would bring dishonor to you, my wife, or me. I am deeply sorry that I did so and promise I’ll never do so again.”
Currie apologized for his failure to disclose nearly a quarter of a million dollars he got from Shoppers Food Warehouse while working on legislation to benefit the grocery store chain.
Though acquitted of criminal charges in federal court, an ethics committee recommended disciplinary action.
“It was tough– tough for him to go through, tough for us to vote on but we did it and it’s a sad day for the Senate,” Senate President Mike Miller said.
Members of the ethics committee say this outcome was “inescapable” and they hope it sends a clear message to other lawmakers.
“We’re hopeful the way the process worked out will reenforce in everybody’s mind the importance of keeping our public roles and private roles distinct,” Sen. Jamie Raskin of District 20 said.
Before the vote, Currie shook hands and thanked every member of the ethics panel. They could have advised he be expelled.
Instead, Currie has been permanently removed as the chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee though he will remain part of that group.
The ethics committee made several other recommendations, including Currie be barred from all leadership roles and some committees. Miller says at this point not all of them have been enforced.
This is the first time a Maryland senator has been disciplined by the chamber in 14 years.