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Miller Calls for Extension of Fundraising Ban to Special Sessions

Del. William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County) gets a piece of Smith Island cake, which a bill would make Maryland's official dessert.
Del. William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County) gets a piece of Smith Island cake, which a bill would make Maryland's official dessert. (By Jamie C. Horton -- Associated Press)

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By Annapolis Notebook
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said yesterday that he will push to close a loophole that allowed lawmakers to raise a reported half-million dollars in campaign contributions during November's 21-day special session.

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Raising money during the legislature's 90-day annual session is prohibited by law, but no such prohibition exists for special sessions. The Baltimore Sun reported over the weekend that those logging contributions during the November session included Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's), chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Currie and a spokesman for O'Malley said the checks were received before the start of the session but not recorded until later.

"We have to avoid even the appearance of impropriety," Miller told reporters yesterday.

Lawmakers were counseled by an ethics adviser to avoid conflicts but were told that they could proceed with fundraisers during the special session if they had been previously scheduled.

Among those who did that was Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), who reported that much of the $42,205 he raised had come in during the session. Raskin said he had been planning the fundraiser for months and did not solicit money from anyone with issues pending in the session.

But he added: "It's possible for campaign contributions to corrupt outside of the session, and it's possible for them not to corrupt during a session."

-- John Wagner

Executive Office of Phone Sex

Residents of Cecil County who have used the local phone book when calling the governor's offices have had a rude awakening:

"Mmmm . . . " the recorded voice on the other line says. "Hi, sexy, welcome to Erotic Innocence, where sexy young girls come to play."

Definitely not Gov. Martin O'Malley's secretary.

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