Ethics laws are not ‘crazy’

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Source: Gazette
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Date Published: 08/18/2011

Little is as important as electing to office people who maintain a high ethical standard, but knowing ahead of time who falls into that category can be challenging. Such is a key reason why governments should have strong ethics laws that err on the side of caution and disclosure for those who hold office. It is also the reason to fully support the Maryland General Assembly’s effort to tighten the disclosure requirements of, and the ethics laws that affect, those who hold office. The law passed last year requires local governments to tighten their rules by adopting one of two models by Oct. 1: Model A for larger counties and municipalities, and Model B for smaller ones. Frederick commissioners have proposed adopting Model A. Most of the changes are the same in both models, but there are some key differences in the areas of financial disclosure and lobbying. Under county law, elected officials and certain high-level employees have to disclose their real estate holdings and any co-owners of the properties only in Frederick County. Financial disclosure under Model A would apply to elected officials, candidates for office and certain high-level employees.