ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A bribery scandal involving elected officials in Prince George's County continues to grow. So far, prosecutors and the FBI have charged five people.
But amid the ongoing corruption investigation, Del. Michael Vaughn, who has represented Prince George’s County since 2003, abruptly resigned before the start of Maryland General Assembly's session on Wednesday – citing health reasons.
Vaughn has not been publicly named in the scandal, but the U.S. attorney said in a news conference on Tuesday that there are more elected officials who are still under investigation.
Inside both chambers of the House and Senate, there was no public mention of the scandal Wednesday. But it is an investigation that has so far resulted in charges of two liquor store owners, a Prince George’s County liquor board commissioner, the director of the county’s liquor board and a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
In the lobby of the Maryland State House before the session began, Gov. Larry Hogan was asked about the investigation.
"Well, I said we are outraged and disgusted by some of these allegations,” he said. “Obviously, it is a 30-month investigation we have cooperated with, but it has been led by U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein who has done an excellent job together with the FBI. I said we will not tolerate corruption in the Prince George's County government or in the legislature. We are going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of this and make sure we prosecute people to the fullest extent of the law.”
The governor said he did not know the names of the elected officials still under investigation.
"It's very heartbreaking when someone violates that trust,” said Dereck Davis, who has represented Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates since 1995. “But for the rest of us, we just continue to work hard to honor the oath that we made and do good work for the state of Maryland.”
Prosecutors say William Campos, a former member of the Prince George’s County council and the House of Delegates, used grant money as a slush fund and took kickbacks for steering the funds to unnamed locations.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said his office has protocols in place for oversight of grant funds, which is different than the county council.
"Our grant funding, we monitor it and we do have a committee and we oversight on it to make sure that these are legitimate organizations that we are giving taxpayer dollars to and they are doing things in the community to help us,” said Baker. “But I certainly think this is the beginning of the council looking at that process. I think they will.”
Prosecutors revealed this week the FBI had David Son, the director of the Prince George’s County liquor board, under wiretap surveillance for two and a half years.