Skip to comments.Steffen Apologizes, Ehrlich Launches Investigation
Posted on 02/11/2005 9:19:59 AM PST by advance_copy
Democratic legislative leaders, skeptical that a longtime aide to Governor Ehrlich acted alone when he spread rumors about Mayor O'Malley, say it will take more than an inquiry by the governor's legal adviser to resolve questions about the incident that has roiled state political waters.
But Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Thursday Democrats won't rush into any investigation of their own.
"We are going to let the matter percolate for two or three days. We're going to see what else comes forth, analyze what steps the governor is taking," Miller said.
He said he and House Speaker Michael Busch will then try to come up with a way to resolve the matter that will be acceptable to Republicans and Democrats.
Ehrlich asked Jervis Finney, a former state senator and head of his legal staff, to investigate the role Joseph Steffen played in spreading rumors about O'Malley's personal life and whether his Internet postings were done with state equipment on state time. Ehrlich fired Steffen and asked him to apologize to O'Malley.
In an e-mail to O'Malley, which Steffen provided to The Associated Press Thursday, he said he was "truly sorry, ashamed and remorseful and I ask that you and your family please find it in your hearts to forgive me."
"I have no excuse for joining web (or other) conversations that are reckless, mean-spirited and personally damaging in nature," the e-mail said.
Raquel Guillory, spokeswoman for O'Malley, said the mayor received an e-mail "through the Baltimore City Web site allegedly from Steffen. The mayor has no further comment at this time."
O'Malley and his wife, Catherine, held a news conference Wednesday to say that rumors that the mayor has been unfaithful to his wife were untrue, with O'Malley describing them as "despicable lies."
Miller said an apology from Steffen was not sufficient and that the governor also should apologize for the actions of someone who was on his staff when he was in Congress and then came with him to state government.
"It happened on his watch. If he didn't know, he should have known," Miller said. "If he would apologize, maybe we could put an end to this."
Ehrlich said Wednesday he would not tolerate what Steffen did, but also would not apologize personally for Steffen's actions. The governor refused to answer questions about any topic at his one public event Thursday, a ceremony to dispense to charities $20,000 donated by state employees for tsunami relief.
House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, said he believes an inquiry outside the governor's office is needed to look at Steffen's actions and whether other members of the administration were involved, but he said House leaders had not discussed what form the inquiry should take.
But some key Democratic leaders, include House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Bryan Frosh, also think an inquiry should be expanded to look into the way the Ehrlich administration has carried out what Frosh described it as "a statewide purge of people who are politically undesirable."
Busch said one of the Steffen's main duties was to go into state agencies and root out people who might not be loyal to Ehrlich so they could be fired.
"They removed long-serving employees, nonpolitical employees, put armed guards at offices, posted pictures of (fired) employees in the lobby of the building where they worked," the speaker said. "That's the police state mentality that state government is now in."
Busch said an independent inquiry is needed into whether Steffen had spread rumors on state time on state equipment and whether other people were involved.
"I certainly don't think it should be left to some kind of investigation done by the administration," he said. "That's the ultimate fox guarding the hen house."
The investigation will never spead to Washington Posts's complicity in this matter, imo. Have to protect the liberal press, you know, and just go after conservatives.
the good citizens of Baltimore should be asking for O'Malley's head on a plater, not putting up with this crap
The good news is that if this is the best O'Malley can do to slime Ehrlich, the 2006 is over, and Ehrlich wins.
Baltimore is one of 3 cities in the entire country where murders went up (ST. Louis and Detroit are the others), and the democrats want to talk about this minor incident.
Hmmm .. could be the reason NCPAC was set up
A caller into WBAL the other day was suggesting that this rumor started with the Duncan campaign. Might be interesting to see what they dig up if they do investigate. Rats in MD might need to be concerned.
There was a Freeper on another thread stating that the alleged womanizing stories had been posted on the Baltimore Sun forum two years ago.
Between the school scandal and the murder rate, it's amazing that Teddy Kennedy isn't calling Baltimore "O'Malley's quagmire" or "O'Malley's Viet Nam".
I think he was set up too.
I agree; it was to smear him....hopefully the truth will come out, and not the lies the Rats want everyone to believe.
I analyzed a year's worth of NCPAC's posts. Indeed, by FR standards, I consider him quite mild. What I would say, and please, no offense to Mr. Steffen, is that there was a certain folksy, almost naive charm to them. He is a very real and warm person. The mistake, if any, was that he was a bit too open about who he worked for; plus, he mentioned things like attending a certain press con, or meeting or knowing a certain person and things of that nature. The MEAN, NASTY and EVIL people who have been monitoring this forum, seeking to do all they can to dull the impact of it, and to stop the GOP, were likely able to guess that NCPAC was Steffen, some time ago. Once they knew who he was, then, it became sort of an entrapment operation. For them to make it into a scandal, all they needed to do was simply to prove that "an aide of Erlich posts on Free Republic" and that furthermore, he posted on threads commenting on Maryland politics and on the O'Malley rumors. It was a case of guilt by association, with no evidence whatever of conspiracy or ill intent. But no matter, in a liberal state, where an unexpected win by the GOP of the statehouse angered the left, even what is really a relatively minor thing, an aide posting on FR and being "seen" on the rumor thread, is enough to create a bogus scandal. How malicious. I'll say this. Those who have undertaken this operation on the part of the left are truly evil people. I wonder if *they* have broken any laws?
Laz's post this morning was a good one for people to follow.
You'd think so, but Craig Benson-- in a GOP state (moreso than MD, at least)-- hired some idiots who did idiotic things and got voted out in 2004.
Yes, it was a good post. Something to keep in mind. I did suggest that the Mods, perhaps, be informed by those who are being asked questions concerning private/professional information about other FReepers by the weasels posing as freepers, perhaps the Mods would be able to see a pattern developing against certain targets, such as NCPAC.
I wish there was a way to see the new sign up names so we could keep an eye on them for a while.
I've often wished that myself.....perhaps JR may want to do something like that.