BALTIMORE STATE’S ATTORNEY MOSBY INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES: A federal grand jury has indicted Baltimore’s top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby on charges of perjury and making false statements with a series of financial transactions that helped her buy two Florida vacation homes. Mosby is charged with falsely claiming to suffer financial hardship from the coronavirus to obtain an early withdrawal from her retirement savings to purchase the homes. Justin Fenton, Tim Prudente and Lorraine Mirabella/Baltimore Sun
- The indictment was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Mosby’s lawyer said in a statement that the charges were “bogus” and “rooted in personal, political and racial animus.” Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record
- Mosby also allegedly stated in mortgage documents, as Baltimore Brew disclosed last March, that she would use one of the condominiums as a second home, qualifying her for a lower interest rate. According to the indictment, she had entered into an agreement with a vacation home management company to market the property as a short-term rental. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew
- The charges surround purchases Mosby made for two vacation homes in Florida for over $1 million. Jessica Iannetta/Baltimore Business Journal.
- The indictment includes perjury for falsely claiming a COVID-19 hardship on an application to withdraw $90,000 from her retirement account. The withdrawals, without a tax penalty, were a temporary financial option created by the federal CARES Act for people who suffered hardships during the pandemic. Mosby’s annual salary is $247,955.58. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters
- One of Mosby’s primary election opponents, Roya Hanna, said she was surprised about the charges and under the specter of charges like perjury, Mosby cannot continue to do the job of state’s attorney. Rielle Creighton/WBFF
- Yet without a conviction, unless Mosby chooses to step aside, voters choose another candidate, or the bar counsel decides to act, she will continue to serve in office. Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
MILLIONS FOR MOORE, FRANCHOT, PEREZ IN GOVERNOR’S RACE: Author Wes Moore raised nearly $5 million over the past seven months, his campaign for Maryland governor said Thursday and $3.1 mill ion cash on hand. Comptroller Peter Franchot, who started 2021 with $2.2 million on hand, did not report how much he had raised or spent. But his campaign said he had $3.3 million on hand, the largest amount of those who reported totals Thursday. Tom Perez, a former U.S. and Maryland labor secretary, said he had raised $2.7 million during the period and had $1.5 million on hand. Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post
SEC. TIFFANY ROBINSON WANTS EMPLOYERS TO REMAIN STRONG, NOT CARRY MORE UNEMPLOYMENT TAX BURDEN: With short-term solvency and an ongoing pandemic in play, the head of Maryland’s Department of Labor recommended lawmakers not make any tax policy changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system for at least another year. David Fidlin/Center Square via Maryland Reporter
HOGAN ANNOUNCES MORE RESPONSE AS COVID CASES PEAK: The winter surge of coronavirus cases may be peaking in the District and Maryland, experts said Thursday, as Maryland’s governor announced 20 million free N95 and KN95 masks will be distributed to further blunt the spread. Erin Cox, Rachel Chason and Rebecca Tan/Washington Post
- Hogan also announced new testing sites, with six new sites announced as part of the 20 new hospital-adjacent testing sites across the state, during the news conference held at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health in Easton. Laura Benedict Sileo/Salisbury Daily Times
- The state health department is implementing a rule that volunteers and vendors regularly in nursing homes where community transmission is high to be tested twice a week, regardless of vaccination status. And visitors will have to provide proof of a recent negative test or to be tested with a rapid test before being allowed to enter. Joel McCord/WYPR
LOOKING FOR COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS: Maryland Reporter is looking to publish more commentary and analysis on issues about state government and politics from all points of view – left, center and right. If you have an opinion or analysis piece you’d like to see published, contact Len@MarylandReporter.com.
We’re adding birthday greetings when available.
- Happy Birthday to Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer
LAWMAKERS BLAST DEPT OF HEALTH FOR MISLEADING INFORMATION ON CYBERATTACK: State health and cybersecurity officials misled legislators about the cause of a website shutdown at the Department of Health, according to Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s and chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. Pinsky said he was angered by the department’s announcement Wednesday that the incident was a ransomware attack — information he said officials withheld for more than six weeks. Bryan P. Sears/The Daily Record
- “I’ve seen enough dancing. You know, I’ve heard 40 minutes of dancing and apparently I heard dancing on Dec. 22,” Pinsky told an official before asking how they can trust the department to tell the truth. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
- It shut down the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard that provides daily metrics that the public and local health officials use to make decisions. It also interrupted services, such as issuing death certificates and various medical licenses. Lawmakers are drafting an emergency bill this week to help those who need licenses and are impacted by the cyberattack. David Collins/WBAL TV.
MORE INFORMATION COMING OUT ABOUT MISHANDLED VACCINES: A mobile vendor accused of mishandling hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered a majority of the suspect shots at public clinics at a state park, courthouses, grocery stores and other community settings, according to a Baltimore Sun data analysis. Hallie Miller and Taylor DeVille/Baltimore Sun
MOCO TEACHERS UNION ISSUES VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE: Montgomery County Education Association teachers on Wednesday passed a resolution of “no confidence” in school district leaders’ ability to handle the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caitlynn Peetz/Bethesda Beat
- Rising COVID-19 cases and teacher absences prompted the Montgomery County Public Schools’ largest teachers union to call on the Board of Education to do more to address the disruption. Lauren Hamilton/WTOP
AUDIT REVEALS OVERPAYMENTS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT CALL HELP: The Maryland Department of Labor potentially overpaid millions of dollars to a vendor providing unemployment insurance call center support, according to a report by the Office of Legislative Audits. Mallory Sofastaii/WMAR
STUDENT LOAN SETTLEMENT WILL BENEFIT MDERS: Several thousand Marylanders will get financial relief under a settlement with the student loan servicer Navient that Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Thursday. The $1.85 billion settlement, which is joined by 39 attorneys general, is outlined in a consent order filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Wednesday. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record
JAIN NAMES HAWKINS LYTES AS RUNNING MATE: Gubernatorial candidate Ashwani Jain has named longtime Maryland resident LaTrece Hawkins Lytes as his running mate in the crowded race for the Democratic nomination. Jain’s campaign describes Lytes as a longtime Maryland resident, wife, mother of four, juvenile Type 1 diabetes survivor, transplant recipient and a community activist. Karina Elwood/Washington Post
GILE TO RUN AGAINST REILLY FOR SENATE SEAT: Dawn Gile, a lawyer who represents businesses across the state in litigation, said she decided to run for the District 33 Maryland Senate seat as a Democrat when she saw the effects the COVID-19 pandemic was having on families. Dana Munro/Capital Gazette