Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maryland Prosecutor Investigates Montgomery County Gov't Advocacy for Question B // READ: MoCo Officials Respond

UPDATE: The Gazette today reports that Montgomery County's police union has been effectively shut out from advertising on county buses, even though MoCo has agreed to make an exception and let them advertise against Question B:
GAZETTE:  Montgomery County might be willing to make a special exception and allow the Fraternal Order of Police to put signs against Question B on RideOn buses, but police say the decision came too late....

Zifcak, immediate past president of FOP Lodge 35, said the union was told by the contractor who handles the bus advertising, Direct Media USA, that it will take 14 days to get their ad on buses. The Nov. 6 election is 13 days away.....
Below, Maryland Juice discusses two updates to the ongoing battle between Montgomery County officials and their police union. First, we highlight a Maryland prosecutors investigation of whether MoCo was improperly engaging in advocacy on this November's ballot questions, and then we update our story on allegations of censorship on MoCo's bus ads.

MOCO CONTESTS MARYLAND'S CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF ITS ISSUE ADVOCACY: The Washington Post reported yesterday that, at the request of Montgomery County's police union (FOP Lodge 35), Maryland prosecutors were investigating the MoCo government's advocacy for Question B. The proposed referendum would eliminate "effects bargaining" rights for police union members, and the County government has been aggressively lobbying in favor of this repeal. Below, read a quick excerpt from the Washington Post's coverage, along with the response from Montgomery County officials:
WASHINGTON POST: The Maryland state prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation into whether Montgomery County officials improperly used county resources during two ongoing referendum campaigns....The county has created Web sites for the two initiatives. It also has put ads on its Ride On buses and distributed fliers about the police referendum.

“This Office will be conducting an investigation into these activities to determine whether any criminal violations warranting criminal prosecution have been committed in connection with these activities,” State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt wrote to the county.

He said the county could be fined $25,000 and county employees could be imprisoned for up to a year for violating election law....

Montgomery County officials are vigorously contesting the idea that they have done anything wrong. Below you can read the County's response to the State prosecutor, along with the attached legal memoranda that they relied upon in pursuing their Question B advocacy:
Montgomery County Responds to MD Prosecutor's Investigation of Question B Advocacy

MONTGOMERY COUNTY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF BUS AD CENSORSHIP: Lastly, yesterday we reported that the Maryland ACLU was accusing Montgomery County of censoring bus ads by opponents of Question B. The county government is now agreeing to make an exception and will run the ads by the police union, but they reject they idea that they were engaging in censorship. Below you can read the response by MoCo officials to the ACLU:
Montgomery County Response to ACLU Regarding Alleged Bus Ad Censorship

No comments:

Post a Comment