Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ETHICS IN STATE GOVERNMENT -- Maryland as a case study:
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s personal lawyer has parlayed his close ties to the governor into a booming Annapolis government relations practice.

And because David Hamilton has emerged as a behind-the-scenes power broker without ever registering as a lobbyist, he's been able to do what no Maryland lobbyist can: help clients get access to the governor and other policymakers, and then ask those same clients to donate to Ehrlich's 2006 reelection campaign.

State ethics experts say it sounds problematic for Hamilton not to register, but Hamilton says it's not: "I know exactly where that line is, and I am very careful not to cross it. I do lawyering, not lobbying."
But isn't there at least an appearance of impropriety? Should that be the standard, or does that set the bar too high?