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Charges won't follow Mooney complaint

May 07, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

The Maryland State Prosecutor's Office will not seek charges against a group working to oust Sen. Alex X. Mooney.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, filed a formal complaint last month about the Defeat Mooney Committee because the group bought the rights to a Web site, www.defeatmooney.com, without first registering as a political action committee.

Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Michael McDonough confirmed Monday that his office won't recommend charges.

Committee Chairman Fred Michel said the group was acting on the belief that registration wasn't required until the group became politically active.

Nothing is on the Web site yet, although Michel said the hope is to have it up and running by June. The group also plans to conduct fund-raisers, but no details have been set.

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Mooney's complaint prompted the group to register with the State Elections Board.

"We caught 'em with their hand in the cookie jar," Mooney said.

Mooney had claimed that Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, was in cahoots with the unregistered group, an accusation denied by both Hecht and Michel.

"This is an effort by the citizenry to voice our displeasure with the incumbent state senator," Michel said.

Michel called Mooney's rhetoric against gays and lesbians "legalized bigotry."

"We feel he is not a true Republican. This is a hijacking of the Republican Party by the radical right," he said.

Hecht's Campaign Manager, Sue Tuckwell, said the Hecht organization "had nothing to do with it in the first place. I'm glad, for their sake, that everything's in order."

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