State Prosecutor Requested School Board Credit Card Reports

State Prosecutor Requested School Board Credit Card Reports

The prosecutor's office investigates government employees and ethics violations.

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Phil Kauffman, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, said at Tuesday’s school board meeting that the investigative office of the state government has requested the expense reports of the board member’s school-issued credit cards.

NBC4 reported that Kauffman said during the meeting, “we have received and fulfilled multiple requests for production of documents related to the Board members’ expenses and use of MCPS-issued credit cards. One of these requests was from the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor. The state prosecutor is responsible for investigating possible ethics violations and misconduct of public officials and employees. The board will continue to fully comply with the state prosecutor and we have already provided them with the same documents that have been made available to the public, which are currently posted under the ‘expense reports’ tab.”

Bethesda Beat last week reported on a nearly $900 Washington, D.C. hotel stay by board member Rebecca Smondrowski and a similar stay by member Christopher Barclay this year; stays which were permitted under the current policy.

The possible misuse of school-issued credit cards came to light when it was discovered Barclay had allegedly spent about $1,500 on unauthorized purchases on travel sites, at convenience stores and on other transactions.

A committee reviewing the use of the school-issue cards released recommendations last week to significantly change the board’s policy governing the use of the cards. Those recommendations include only allowing county-funded hotel stays at events more than 50 miles from the school system’s headquarters and no longer allowing board members to pay for meals for elected officials, staff or constituents.

Emmet C. Davitt, the state prosecutor, said in a phone call with Bethesda Beat that his office, per its policy, “can neither confirm nor deny whether we have an investigation.”

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