Senators preparing to oust colleague

January 14, 1998

Senators preparing to oust colleague


Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Sen. Donald F. Munson said Tuesday he supports the Senate leadership's effort to oust embattled Sen. Larry Young, who earlier this week was found to be in violation of General Assembly ethics requirements by a legislative panel.

"The Senate is like an extended family. To have to punish a member of the family is never easy,' and to give the most extreme punishment is a most difficult decision. But in this case it was clearly warranted," said Munson, a Hagerstown Republican.

He and Sen. John W. Derr, R-Frederick/Washington, said they would vote in favor of expelling Young from the Senate.

"He did things that were absolutely wrong," said Derr, the Senate's minority whip.

Several Washington County lawmakers expressed support for the work of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which issued a 22-page report on Monday that said Young, a Baltimore City lawmaker, "betrayed the public trust" by using his public office for private gain.


"I commend the process. This is a perfect example of accountability," said Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington.

The committee recommended that Young be stripped of his political power and face a Senate vote on expulsion. Members of the Senate leadership, including Derr, have agreed to support the vote to expel Young.

Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, said, "I know it had to be difficult (to make the recommendations), but we also have to set standards and have integrity."

Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington, said he had not seen the committee's report but believes the decision was based on thorough consideration of the evidence, and was not merely a political witch hunt.

"I have a lot of confidence in the committee members. I know them individually and they are bright, caring people," Poole said.

Nonetheless, Poole said he was surprised by the "extremely stark" penalties recommended by the panel. "But I guess the penalties are merited under the evidence," he said.

The committee report said Young, who had chaired a health care subcommittee in the Senate, collected about $250,000 in fees and donations from health care companies, some of them in business with the state. In some cases it appeared Young did not perform work for the money he made, the panel determined.

Munson said he was not surprised by the committee's recommendations. But he and several others lawmakers doubted it would go as far as a vote.

"I would hope that he (Young) would take the opportunity to resign," he said.

Various lawmakers denied that the saga has cast a negative light on the General Assembly as it opens its annual 90-day session today. Instead, they said, the legislature showed it can police itself.

"It would have reflected badly upon the assembly if there was overwhelming evidence (against Young) and we did nothing or we tried to shove it under the rug," Poole said.

Still, lawmakers seemed anxious to put the matter behind them and get on with the business of legislating.

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