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Poole appointed to state ethics panel

February 15, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Former state delegate D. Bruce Poole has been appointed to serve on the Maryland Ethics Commission, an independent group that guards against and investigates ethics violations by public officials.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany/Garrett, announced the appointment when he introduced Poole as a visitor to the House of Delegates Tuesday. Taylor appointed Poole to the post.

The independent five-member board meets about once a month in Towson, Md. The job comes with a small stipend, Poole said. The exact amount could not be determined Tuesday.

The commission gives advice to legislators about whether their outside jobs would constitute a conflict of interest and investigates possible ethics violations.

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Poole, a Democrat, served in the House of Delegates from 1987 until 1998, when he was defeated by Republican Christopher B. Shank.

When he was a lawmaker, he served on the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics for a year.

The commission will operate under stricter ethics rules passed by the legislature last year.

Poole said he wants to make sure the new laws allow part-time lawmakers to earn a living. He said he's concerned that the legislature will become a place for only those who are independently wealthy.

Many of Poole's former colleagues approached him with handshakes and hugs.

"We miss Bruce something terrible. He's a diamond ring in the rough," said Del. Joanne C. Benson, D-Prince George's, who is a Hagerstown native.

Poole told lawmakers he's been keeping busy with his Hagerstown law practice and spending time with his family, including his toddler son.

"I think I won that election after all," he said to one person.

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