It hasn’t been a good week for Democrats in the House of Delegates, and today brings more bad news for Speaker Mike Busch’s crew:
Longtime state Del. Michael L. Vaughn (D-Prince George’s) resigned Wednesday morning, less than an hour before the official start of the 2017 legislative session, citing health reasons.
His departure is the latest blow to Maryland Democrats, who have become embroiled in a long-running bribery and corruption investigation that U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein says involves “more than one” current lawmaker.
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Vaughn’s two-sentence resignation letter was delivered to the office of House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) Wednesday morning, shortly before the noon opening of the General Assembly’s annual legislative session.
There was no indication in the letter that Vaughn’s decision to leave the legislature was connected to the probe.
But the court filings from last week said that one elected official accused of accepting bribes, who is not named in the documents, voted in a 2015 House Economic Matters Committee hearing for a bill expanding alcohol sales in Prince George’s.
Eighteen members of the committee voted in favor of the bill, including Vaughn. Vaughn was the only Prince George’s lawmaker to vote yes. The court papers do not specify the lawmaker’s jurisdiction.
From everything I’m hearing, this is by no means the end of this mess for House members. It’s going to get much worse before it begins to get better.