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Monday, September 08, 2008

FBI investigates Sen. Exum

(Updated 8 Sep 2008)

Sen. Exum Is Subject Of Probe By FBI; Ties to Auto Shop Under Scrutiny.
Post, 6 Sep 2008 (Helderman & Wagner).
The FBI has launched an inquiry into Maryland Sen. Nathaniel Exum (D-Prince George's), questioning a now-retired state police captain and a fellow senator about Exum in recent months.
[Full story]

Comments from liberal and conservative bloggers:

FBI Looking Into Exum.
Free State Politics, 6 Sep 2008 (Eric Luedtke).
The Post is reporting that State Senator Nathaniel Exum is being investigated by the FBI, possibly for his role supporting legislation on scrap metal recycling. Exum works for a scrap yard. You might also remember questions about Exum's having stepped in to support a repair shop outside of his district whose inspection license had been pulled by the State Police. I guess we'll wait and see if anything comes of itm but there are a couple issues raised by this and other cases that need to be dealt with.

First, when the story about the repair shop broke a while ago, the head of the State Police inspection division, Robert Bambary, was removed from his position after being quoted in the article that broke it. That smacks of political retribution, given that the two events happened so close together. The assembly needs to take a look at the situation to make sure that his removal from the position was kosher, and not motivated by any political shenanigans. The State Police should not have to operate under the threat of losing their jobs if they get in the way of elected officials.

Second, I think the scrap metal issue highlights a need for the assembly to take a new look at its ethics rules. The article mentioned that Exum was not barred from voting on the bill because it affected more companies than just his own. Seems to me that distinction is ridiculous. Did it benefit his company? Yes. Whether it benefited others as well is beside the point. The ethics rules should be more broadly defined so that the assembly members don't vote on anything that even begins to help them financially. I know it's a part-time citizens legislature. I know such stricter rules would make their legislative jobs more difficult. But preventing even the appearance of corruption is vitally important.
Yet Another Maryland Democrat Under FBI Investigation.
Red Maryland, 6 Sep 2008 (Mark Newgent).
The Washington Post is reporting that the FBI is investigating state senator Nathaniel Exum of PG County, in regarding his influence peddling for Hilltop and efforts to exempt his employer from state regulations.

The hits just keep on rolling.
It's All About Trust.
O'MalleyWatch.com, 8 Sep 2008 (Martin Watcher).
The investigations into Prince George’s County’s political dynasties are continuing as the Washington Post published a story Saturday that the FBI is looking into the actions of Senator Nathaniel Exum. You remember Exum, the guy who successfully pressured O’Malley’s Administration, through the threat of stopping the appointment of Superintendant Sheridan, to return an inspection license to a body shop even though a judge took it away. Or more egregious was the actions where he put an amendment on a bill in a Senate bill to exempt his employer, and tried to put the same amendment on the House cross-file, and when that failed, the bill died due to the differences, making it so his scrap metal employer didn’t have to follow new rigorous reporting standards.

Any investigation into the blatant actions of corrupt politicians is welcome news. Perhaps we need random ethics investigations, as if they were athletes taking steroids. “Delegate, can you please pee in this cup?” . . . [Full post]

Local corruption
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space, 7 Sep 2008 (Richard Layman).

Post: FBI launches investigations into state Sen. Exum.
PolitickerMD, 8 Sep 2008 (Danny Reiter).

Exum Being Probed.
Maryland Politics Today, 8 Sep 2008 (P. Kenneth Burns).

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