BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Council has passed a new ethics rule in the wake of a scandal causing the resignation of former mayor Catherine Pugh.
The legislation would require more resources at the Board of Ethics, and more Baltimore City employees would be forced to file financial disclosures.
Baltimore City Council started looking at tightening up financial disclosures after former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa was federally indicted late last year on failure to disclose his taxes.
“Over time, it also became clear we needed to improve certain things over what was being disclosed,” Councilman Ryan Dorsey said.
In March, De Sousa was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and news broke of an ethics scandal with then-mayor Pugh.
Pugh resigned in May after the public learned her children’s book sales totaled about $800,000, mostly to the University of Maryland Medical System, and other entities with direct business ties to the City of Baltimore.
Pugh did not disclose all the business relationships on her city ethics forms.
The legislation passed unanimously Monday would force politicians, agency heads and others with procurement responsibilities to disclose such relationships and close an LLC loophole.
“The concern that arose with me is how someone who obviously is required to file a financial disclosure fails to do so and then how does the city fail to hold them accountable and get them to file when they fail,“ Dorsey said.
State prosecutors are investigating Pugh at the request of Gov. Larry Hogan.
“I just want them to be held to a normal standard, the standard of the everyday person in the street,” University of Baltimore ethics professor Fred Guy said. That would be helpful.”
Councilman Dorsey also wants to move the Ethics Board to answer to the inspector general to give the board more investigative authority.