Ulysses Currie Indicted

From the Washington Post


Longtime Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie, one of the most powerful and popular figures in the General Assembly, was indicted Wednesday on charges that he took more than $245,000 in bribes to use his position and influence to do favors for a grocery chain.

The 48-page indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, comes after a years-long FBI investigation into consulting work Currie (D-Prince George’s) did for Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Over six years, the indictment alleges, Currie took action to help Shoppers sell liquor at one store, save money in the construction of another store and buy land. Two former Shoppers officials also were indicted by the federal grand jury.

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Shoppers hired Currie to work as a consultant focusing on public affairs, minority recruitment, and outreach and community relations. But in reality, prosecutors allege, Shoppers paid him to use his Senate seat to benefit the company’s business and financial interests.

Currie, 73, highlighted his actions in a paper he wrote in September 2007, hoping to justify continued payments from the grocery chain, the indictment says. He called the document “Accomplishments on Behalf of Shoppers.” He wrote that he was “in a unique position to assist Shoppers in expanding its mission and increasing its bottom line” and that he would bring the company “many more opportunities,” court papers say.

Hardly a surprise. Any surprise would be limited to the fact that federal prosecutors have only indicted one Maryland Democrat, something that can only be attributed to incompetence of lack of ambition.

Beyond the snark, however, Currie serves as a metaphor for one party rule. When all the reins of power are under the control of one party, the odds of misfeasance and malfeasance being exposed rapidly drop to zero.

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