Friday, June 18, 2010

Speed Camera Lobbyist charged with Ethics Violations

The Washington Post has reported that an ethics complaint has been filed against Sean Malone, a longtime O'Malley aide who is now an Annapolis lobbyist. Until September 2008, Malone was employed by O'Malley to lobby the General Assembly on behalf of his agenda, which included speed cameras and slots. Malone held a number of previous positions under O'Malley when he was Governor and when O'Malley was Mayor of Baltimore. The complaint, filed by former state's public defender Nancy Forester, alleges that by representing clients with interests in speed cameras and slots (specifically ACS State and Local Solutions), Malone violated a provision that bars private-sector lobbyists from engaging in matters in which they were directly involved as government employees.

Malone responds that the accusation is baseless and that enough time had passed between his public and private employment the he was free to represent private clients.

Reports filed with the Maryland State Ethics commission show that Malone was retained by ACS State and Local solutions between February 2009 and April 2008 to lobby in favor of speed camera legislation. The report lists a large number of campaign contributions made by Malone to state elected officials. ACS spent heavily on lobbying efforts prior to the passage of statewide speed cameras including buying steak dinners for state lawmakers.

ACS State and Local Solutions is the contractor for speed camera programs in Montgomery County, Baltimore City, and Bowie. ACS was recently awarded a contract to run the state freeway 'work zone' speed camera program (made possible by last year's statewide speed camera legislation), with an initial estimated value of $20.9million.