O’Malley facing ethics probe over … furniture purchases?

posted at 5:21 pm on January 15, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

You’d better sit down before reading this … or else Martin O’Malley might buy your chair before you get the opportunity. Last night, the Baltimore Sun reported that prosecutors in Maryland are probing O’Malley’s tax-free purchases of furniture from the governor’s mansion at the end of his term that saved him 90% of retail cost. O’Malley’s administration had helpfully reclassified the furniture as “junk” prior to his departure:

The Anne Arundel County state’s attorney is investigating former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s discounted, tax-free purchase last year of taxpayer-owned furniture from the governor’s mansion in Annapolis.

The probe began shortly after a Baltimore Sun investigation found in September that the Democratic presidential candidate paid $9,638 for 54 mansion furnishings that originally cost taxpayers $62,000. The discounted sale was authorized by outgoing O’Malley administration officials after each item had been classified as “junk.”

Most of the furnishings now adorn the O’Malleys’ $549,000 home in Baltimore’s Homeland neighborhood.

In fact, the sale never should have taken place at all, the Sun’s investigative team determined:

The Department of General Services approved the sale to O’Malley last January despite a policy that forbids private sales of state property to government officials, The Sun found. The agency also did not follow its rule requiring it to solicit bids for such items and did not charge mandated sales tax on the transaction.

Shortly after The Sun investigation, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the agency to conduct an internal review of policies that allowed the purchase. The Republican governor accused O’Malley of “misleading” Marylanders about the removal of the furnishings, saying the former governor never told him about plans to take items with him when he moved out of the mansion last year on Jan. 15.

O’Malley’s campaign accused prosecutors of political motivations, although those would be murky at best. O’Malley’s not running in Maryland for anything, and his presidential bid may as well be non-existent. This is the most interesting thing to happen to the O’Malley campaign since he blew his appearance at Netroots Nation by saying, “All lives matter.”

The man himself says he just followed the rules as explained to him:

O’Malley said last year he wrote a check for what the state’s Department of General Services determined was the furniture’s depreciated value.

“I know there was no negotiating of the price,” O’Malley said in September. “We were just told it was some sort of standard depreciation formula they had used for the prior family.”

O’Malley will appear on stage Sunday evening in the Democratic presidential debate, coincidentally with another candidate who took off with mansion furnishings at the end of a term in office. Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill took practically everything that wasn’t nailed down when they exited the White House, although the outcry forced them to start returning some of it shortly afterward:

After they were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts with them when they left, the Clintons announced last week that they would pay for $86,000 worth of gifts, or nearly half the amount.

Their latest decision to send back $28,000 in gifts brings to $114,000 the value of items the Clintons have either decided to pay for or return.

Will Bernie Sanders offer himself as the Democrat with a difference? Failing that, perhaps the moderators can start a discussion as to how Democrats redecorate on the cheap.


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Comments

The irony, compared to the crooked Clintons, all of them.

Heh

Schadenfreude on January 15, 2016 at 5:24 PM

Looting is legal in Baltimore.

kcewa on January 15, 2016 at 5:28 PM

Last night, the Baltimore Sun reported that prosecutors in Maryland are probing O’Malley’s tax-free purchases of furniture from the governor’s mansion at the end of his term that saved him 90% of retail cost. O’Malley’s administration had helpfully reclassified the furniture as “junk” prior to his departure:

I think I vaguely remember hearing about this issue some months ago. I’d ask if there were any Democrats who aren’t crooks, but I (and most readers of this blog) already know that answer.

This is the most interesting thing to happen to the O’Malley campaign since he blew his appearance at Netroots Nation by saying, “All lives matter.”

I can’t really condemn him for that; it took guts to tell off the BLM types.

Doomberg on January 15, 2016 at 5:28 PM

I try not to cuss so …

IDontCair on January 15, 2016 at 5:33 PM

Only $9,638 huh?

Obviously, he’s not ready for the big leagues by democrat standards.

HumpBot Salvation on January 15, 2016 at 5:34 PM

Darn.

I was so looking forward to the O’Malley/Kasich slugfest.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:36 PM

Brewster’s Millions

Constitutionalist on January 15, 2016 at 5:39 PM

If they need space to destroy loot the governor’s mansion, we’ve got to give them that.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:40 PM

$9,638

The the less than the Clintons loot from the pad & paper supply closet at the Clinton Foundation.

libfreesMom on January 15, 2016 at 5:43 PM

What about the furniture the Clinton stole from the Whitehouse that is still unaccounted for?

paulsur on January 15, 2016 at 5:45 PM

What is it about pols and friggin’ furniture?

Even Netanyahu was involved in some kind of minor scandal involving furniture last year.

In addition to hookerz, blow and little kids, I guess the powerful have furniture fetishes as well?

Don’t get it…

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2016 at 5:46 PM

O’Malley facing ethics probe over … furniture purchases?

So close, and yet sofa

JetBoy on January 15, 2016 at 5:47 PM

Bernie, the only candidate who didn’t steal government furniture?

Now, that’s a slogan.

Fallon on January 15, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Edit: Bernie, the only Democrat candidate…

Fallon on January 15, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Funny story, especially the one about Bill and Hilbag running off with the TV’s and china. What a bunch of crooks!

woodhull on January 15, 2016 at 5:50 PM

Looting is legal in Baltimore.

kcewa on January 15, 2016 at 5:28 PM

Hmmm… Only for some in Baltimore.

Fallon on January 15, 2016 at 5:51 PM

$9,638

Actually the amount in question would be:

($62,000 – actual depreciation) – $9,638 = unjust enrichment

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:51 PM

So close, and yet sofa…

JetBoy on January 15, 2016 at 5:47 PM

Badda bing!

He’s here all week, folks.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:53 PM

The the less than the Clintons loot from the pad & paper supply closet at the Clinton Foundation.

libfreesMom on January 15, 2016 at 5:43 PM

No kidding. Poor ol’ whatsisname. Don’t mess with Hillary.

Misha on January 15, 2016 at 5:54 PM

Any Fascist-Democrat running for president not under an ethical scandal please stand up. There’s Bernie Sanders and . . . that’s it.

rbj on January 15, 2016 at 5:54 PM

Didn’t some of the Clintoon staff actually take keys from computer keyboards? IIRC…

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:56 PM

Didn’t some of the Clintoon staff actually take keys from computer keyboards? IIRC…

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:56 PM

I remember something about the missing keys. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why rich people (Hillary!) steal.

Misha on January 15, 2016 at 5:58 PM

What is it about pols and friggin’ furniture?

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2016 at 5:46 PM

It’s how the crooked rich get / stay rich.

It’s always the ones you think could afford it the most who wince and cry when it comes to paying retail price for anything. So they just steal from the little people instead.

Their money comes at a risk to begin with, so they don’t want to run additional risk by having to steal to replace what they’ve already stolen. Especially for trivial things like household expenses like the average Joe.

Corrupt money should only be used to gain more corrupt money. It’s the only thing that justifies the risk.

Oxymoron on January 15, 2016 at 6:35 PM

What is it about pols and friggin’ furniture?

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2016 at 5:46 PM

With Billy Jeff, it actually was friggin’ furniture.

Oy.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 6:38 PM

Liberals have been taught the government owes them, why wouldn’t their leaders practice it.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 6:41 PM

The lame stream media at it again. You can always tell who they’re most fearful of.

Politricks on January 15, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Probably trying to buy some antiques the Clintons lifted from the White House…

viking01 on January 15, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Good thing it wasn’t Huckabee leaving DC. He’d have stolen the outhouse.

vnvet on January 15, 2016 at 7:12 PM

Who does Martin O’Malley think he is? Yvonne Gonzalez?

No Truce With Kings on January 15, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Bernie Sanders slogan
My administration staff will sit on the floor,no furniture
Only millionaires and billionairesown own furniture

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 8:39 PM

The 1% own all the furniture
#occupyasofa

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 8:41 PM

Didn’t some of the Clintoon staff actually take keys from computer keyboards? IIRC…

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 5:56 PM

Oh that’s the “W” keys being popped off keyboards…My favorite moment at that time were the throngs of people yelling for Gore to get “out of Cheneys house”….classic TV

malkinmania on January 15, 2016 at 8:53 PM

Bill needs to have an ethics probe on how many interns hes screwed on the white house furniture……

Indiana Jim on January 15, 2016 at 10:38 PM

Furniture is all O’Malley will get, so it doesn’t matter.

The very idea of an ethics investigation of democrats is laughable.

virgo on January 16, 2016 at 4:31 AM

Hey Hillary. Don’t forget to thank Obama but I don’t under stand why you wasted a favor on getting rid of O’Malley. But who knows how your mind works.

pwb on January 16, 2016 at 10:06 AM

Oh come on, like who hasn’t slipped a hotel towel into their bag on the way out?

What difference, at this point, does it make?

MJBrutus on January 16, 2016 at 10:55 AM

Rather ironic given the furniture the Clintons stole from the White House when they left.

Having said that, the motivation for this investigation is that if you cross the Clintons, no matter how slightly, they will crush you.

jnelchef on January 16, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Hill needs that 1% of voters flocking to O’Malley.

NoPain on January 16, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Now be fair, HAers. Martin and Katie simply walked the recycling and public interest talk. The new Republican governor would surely have just walked all that good furniture to the curb.

SentientAI on January 16, 2016 at 6:28 PM