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Md. House reprimands Anne Arundel Republican


The Maryland House of Delegates voted 127-3 on Tuesday to reprimand a lawmaker for trying to change legislation in a way that would have helped him get his suspended real estate license back.The vote came ...


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ANNAPOLIS, Md(AP) -- The Maryland House of Delegates voted 127-3 on Tuesday to reprimand a lawmaker for trying to change legislation in a way that would have helped him get his suspended real estate license back The vote came a day after a legislative ethics committee recommended the House reprimand Delegate Tony McConkey, R-Anne Arundel, for pushing hard for the amendments in the waning days of last year's legislative session that personally benefited himFor example, the changes he sought would have reduced the interest on $75,000 he owed a fund for improper real estate services relating to three clients "The law relating to legislator conflict of interest is clear," said Delegate Brian McHale, D-Baltimore, who is a co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics"A member may not participate in a legislative issue if that member will derive a direct and personal financial benefit from it." McConkey apologized for his conductHe said he believed an opinion he received from the General Assembly's ethics adviser at the time supported him "I thought the ethics opinion supported my position," McConkey said However, after McConkey finished explaining his view of what happened, McHale said he felt compelled to note that McConkey sought the advice of the adviser only after he already had taken action to get the amendments passedMcHale also said anyone with a clear mind who would have read the advice of legislative counsel would have known it was "an act of misconduct to have presented that amendment and to have lobbied both houses to have it passed." McConkey entered into a settlement in 2010 for charges he committed fraud, misrepresentation and false pretenses against three clients, according to the ethics reportThe State Real Estate Commission required McConkey to pay $75,000 to the state's Real Estate Guaranty Fund, or about $25,000 for each clientMcConkey's real estate license has been suspended until he reimburses the fund in full, including all interest and administrative charges The ethics panel found unanimously that McConkey participated in, drafted, offered, lobbied and voted for amendments to the bill and "that a clear and direct financial impact would have flowed to Delegate McConkey as a result of passage of the amendments, in the form of thousands of dollars in reduced interest charges, no administrative charges, and possible reinstatement of his real estate salesperson license." The ethics complaint was filed by SenEdward Reilly, R-Anne ArundelMcConkey approached Reilly on the last day of the legislative session and asked the senator to support the billReilly told the delegate he did not support the amendments McConkey wanted due to concerns raised by a story in The Washington Post about how the changes could benefit McConkey "Senator Reilly stated that Delegate McConkey shouted at and cursed the senator and refused to leave his office," the ethics report said"Senator Reilly then called the Maryland State Police, Legislative Security Section, who escorted Delegate McConkey from Senator Reilly's office." Later that day, a panel of House and Senate lawmakers removed the amendments favored by McConkey from the bill, which subsequently passed without them A reprimand is a lesser disciplinary action lawmakers can take against one of their ownIt is basically a formal recognition of an ethics violationLawmakers also can censure or expel legislators for ethical transgressions Three lawmakers voted against the reprimand, including Delegates Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel, Neil Parrott, R-Washington, and Glen Glass, R-HarfordMcConkey did not vote Politics & GovernmentGovernmentTony McConkeyreal estate license

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