State Del. Pat McDonough says he has filed an ethics complaint against state Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr., his opponent in the Republican primary race for Baltimore County executive.
In a letter to the Maryland State Ethics Commission, McDonough alleged that Redmer has campaigned on state time and sought “votes or financial support from businesses” that have relationships with the insurance commission and other state agencies.
In a statement issued Thursday, McDonough said Redmer has a conflict of interest.
“Redmer should immediately resign from office and apologize to the taxpayers of Maryland for acting as a part-time insurance commissioner and full-time candidate on their dollar,” he said.
Redmer said McDonough has been making false allegations against him for months because he “has no record of accomplishments or leadership experience on which to run, so he chooses instead to blatantly lie to the voters of Baltimore County any chance he gets.”
“Let me make this perfectly clear — I have not, do not, and will not ever campaign on state time,” Redmer said in a statement. “I look forward continuing to serve the people of Maryland as Insurance Commissioner while running an honest and professional campaign for County Executive focused on the many issues that our county is facing. I encourage my opponent to do the same.”
Earlier this year, McDonough sponsored unsuccessful legislation that would have required the insurance commissioner and other state officials to resign if they wanted to run for office.
Meanwhile, a Lutherville resident complained this month to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics — which enforces ethics laws that apply to state lawmakers — about a letter McDonough sent to his home.
The resident, Stephen Endres, said he received a letter on McDonough’s state letterhead that was portrayed as an update to constituents and contained criticism of Redmer. Endres is not McDonough’s constituent. He does not live in McDonough’s district and says he has never contacted the delegate’s office.
“Rather than this being an update to constituents ... this letter seems... first and foremost a taxpayer funded thinly veiled attack on Delegate McDonough’s primary opponent for Baltimore County Executive, Al Redmer,” Endres wrote to the joint committee.
McDonough said he was contacted by the state Department of Legislative Services about Endres’ complaint. He called the complaint “an election-year stunt.”
“I have sent out over 40,000 end-of-session letters over a 16-year period and have never received a complaint,” McDonough said.
State officials said they could not confirm whether the complaints have been filed — or whether they are being investigated — because complaints are confidential under state law.
The primary is June 26. Three leading Democrats are also running for executive: Councilwoman Vicki Almond, state Sen. Jim Brochin and former state delegate Johnny Olszewski Jr.