A state lawmaker who was a central figure this year in the drama over whether Maryland would approve same-sex marriage was charged Friday with stealing campaign funds to pay for her wedding.
Charges brought by the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor allege that Del. Tiffany T. Alston (D-Prince George’s) spent thousands of dollars of campaign contributions to pay for wedding expenses and for the salary of an employee in her law firm.
In several instances, Alston wrote herself checks from the account of “Friends of Tiffany Alston” and then cashed the checks for personal use, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Alston is charged with one count of felony theft, one count of misdemeanor theft, one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two election law violations.
Alston did not immediately return a phone call on Friday.
The felony theft charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum 18-month sentence and fine of $500.
Alston, 34, was a little-known freshman in the Maryland House of Delegates until this spring. She co-sponsored a bill to legalize same-sex marriage but then left a hearing room with another lawmaker just before the bill came up for a vote.
The two later returned, but their disappearance delayed the committee vote and amounted to the first of many setbacks for the legislation.
Before a subsequent vote, Alston introduced an amendment seeking to revert the legislation to authorize civil unions, not same-sex marriage. When that failed, she voted against the legislation, saying her vote was “for my constituents.”
“I know that my community does not like the bill,” the delegate said at the time.
The same-sex marriage bill died in the House of Delegates in March. Advocates and Gov. Martin O’Malley have vowed to see it through when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.