Friday, September 23, 2011

Del. Tiffany Alston Indicted // Irony: Marriage Equality Opponent Steals To Pay for Wedding?

UPDATE: Del. Alston's marriage-hypocrisy story goes national. Check out this Mother Jones story.

Numerous people have emailed me with the unfortunate breaking news that Maryland Delegate Tiffany Alston has been indicted for theft of campaign funds. This story is amazing for two reasons: 1) Ms. Alston represents Prince George's, where voters just this week elected Derrick Leon Davis to replace scandal-ridden Councilmember Leslie Johnson, and 2) Ms. Alston is ironically charged with stealing campaign funds to pay for her own wedding, after voting down the marriage rights of same-sex couples.

The Washington Blade had this coverage:

Maryland Del. Tiffany Alston (D-P.G. County) has been indicted on felony theft and other charges and is accused of using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including costs associated with her 2010 wedding. 
It’s an ironic twist, given that Alston played a prominent role in the defeat of Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill earlier this year. Alston, an early co-sponsor of the bill, later changed her mind and voted against it. 
State prosecutor Emmet Davitt announced a series of charges against Alston today, including: one count of felony theft; one count of misdemeanor theft; one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two election law violations. The prosecutor alleges that Alston used campaign funds for personal uses, including $3,560 to cover wedding related expenses. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
This sets back the march towards cleaning up Prince George's County's image, just as County leaders like Councilmember Eric Olson were beginning to show signs of optimism. In an interview this week with radio personality Marc Plotkin, Mr. Olson made the following comments:
Prince George's County Councilmember Eric Olson called the recent corruption scandal involving former county executive Jack Johnson "a horrible thing," but said the county is recovering and examining ethics reforms. Olson, the council's vice-chair, said he has co-introduced a bill that would mandate audits on the offices of county executives and councilmembers when their terms are over, and the county may create an inspector general position.
It may be back to the drawing board temporarily, but I wonder what sort of measures will now be required to restore public confidence. Sigh.

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