Gov. Larry Hogan says he’s going after the “professional politician” in the State House.
Putting federally indicted Baltimore state Sen. Nate Oaks on the spot at a press conference today, Maryland’s GOP governor said he plans to introduce a bill to limit all Maryland General Assembly members to two terms in an effort to target corruption in Annapolis.
The bill, dubbed the Government Accountability Act of 2018, would limit all members to two terms in the House of Delegates or Senate, capping the maximum time one can spend in either house at eight years.
“Our founding fathers did not envision professional politicians,” Hogan said, referencing how George Washington stepped down as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1783. (He was elected president six years later.)
The governor harped on Oaks, a 71-year-old Baltimore politician indicted last year on federal fraud, obstruction of justice and other charges for allegedly accepting more than $15,000 in bribes. The Sun’s Justin Fenton reported yesterday that Oaks, who’s held office for 30 combined years, was actually a target of a larger corruption probe targeting Baltimore City Council members and state lawmakers, according to Oaks’ lawyers.
Republicans have pressed for Oaks to step down, to no avail. He’s notably already been ousted from the legislature before: City Paper reported that in 1988, while serving his second term in the House of Delegates, Oaks was convicted of theft charges for double-billing expenses to the state and his campaign fund, and automatically forfeited his seat. Nevertheless, he was re-elected six years later, and promoted by Hogan himself to the Senate last year to fill a vacant seat.
Hogan said Oaks “shamefully will still be on the floor of the Senate” when it convenes for day one of the 2018 legislative session.
The governor said polling results show Marylanders favor term limits for elected officials. (A search for such a poll turned up empty, though Goucher Poll director Mileah Kromer told Baltimore Fishbowl national polls indicate most voters support them.)
Hogan also re-introduced a bill he proposed last year to require the Maryland legislature to live-stream all of its hearings. The 2017 bill never escaped a Senate committee, an outcome Hogan criticized at his presser today.
“Marylanders deserve accountability and transparency from their elected officials,” the governor said.
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