BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Corruption investigations have jolted Maryland with several rising political stars embroiled in scandals.
One is an ongoing and massive federal bribery investigation and has already lead to a guilty plea from former delegate Will Campos, a founder of Maryland’s Hispanic Caucus.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein has handled the case, which involves at least 30 months of wiretaps and lawmakers taking bribes for–among other things–liquor licenses– in Prince George’s County.
Rosenstein spoke one-on-one with WJZ about rooting out corruption.
“Corruption is a top priority for us, obstruction is a even more significant priority, that is people are actively attempting to interfere with federal prosecutors– investigators,” said Rosenstein.
Another powerful long-time delegate, Michael Vaughn, resigned less than an hour before the start of the session citing health concerns. According to published reports, he matches the description of a lawmaker currently under investigation.
“Our goal is to put fear into the criminals out there committing corruption,” said Rosenstein.
Rosenstein would not comment on Vaughn. He has long warned politicians they are not above the law.
Another rising star, Gary Brown Jr., a close aide to Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, is under a separate investigation by the state prosecutor.
His swearing in as a delegate has been cancelled. Brown faces an indictment he illegally funneled 18,000 to relatives–then into the mayor’s campaign coffers–violating the limit for an individual donor. Brown still works for the mayor.
“I always stand on the side that people have the right. You’re innocent until proven otherwise,” said Pugh.
Mayor Pugh answered questions about brown for the first time and says she’s reviewing her campaign finances.
“Let me just be real clear. We know that things happen. We raised over $2 million, and if there is anything wrong with the funds that we received, they will go back.”