A new state ethics law that requires all of Maryland's elected officials to file lengthy documentation about their personal finances for public scrutiny will not go unchallenged in the next meeting of the state's General Assembly in Annapolis, The Gazette reported.
State Senator Jamie Raskin, (D-District 20) of Takoma Park, will challenge the new law, from which many smaller municipalities have been exempted, but which poses a burden on the elected officials of non-exempted small municipalities, such as Chevy Chase Village.
Two of Chevy Chase Village's board members—Peter Kilborn and Thomas Jackson—recently resigned in advance of the state law about to take effect requiring members of municipal councils and boards—and their spouses—to disclose all real property interests, stocks and bonds, regardless of the properties', stocks' or bonds' connection to the village, Chevy Chase Patch reported.
"Previously, the officials signed a form stating that they had no conflicts of interest with companies doing business or wanting to do business with the community," The Gazette reported.
Raskin originally had supported the ethics law, which was passed in 2010, but "sought to change it after the Maryland Municipal League warned it would cause a problem for smaller communities to attract and keep qualified people to serve in office," The Gazette reported.
“This was an unfortunate and unintended consequence of a good ethics law,” Raskin told The Gazette. “So I’m hopeful we’ll clean it up as soon as we get back to Annapolis.”
Chevy Chase Village is working with other Maryland municipalities similarly affected by the new law and with state legislators "to have the law amended to exclude small municipalities from the breadth of the disclosure requirements, and to limit the requested information to companies doing business with the municipality," Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers Chair Patricia Baptiste wrote in a letter to the village.
With disclosure requirements so stringent in such a small community as Chevy Chase Village, it may be difficult to find people willing to serve (voluntarily) on the board, Baptiste added in her letter.