2018 | Politics

Politics Roundup: Kagan Asks for State Police Investigation of Kavanaugh

Plus: County Democratic Party votes to remain neutral on redistricting of county council

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District 17 Democratic Sen. Cheryl Kagan

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Kagan calls on Hogan to demand police investigation into Kavanaugh allegations

State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, a Democrat who represents Rockville, sent a letter Friday to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), asking the Maryland State Police to investigate allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford at a high school party in the 1980s.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly groping her, pinning her to a bed and trying to take off her clothes while they were at a high school party at a Montgomery County house, according to The Washington Post. Kavanaugh, then 17, attended the all-boys Georgetown Preparatory School, while 15-year-old Ford attended Holton-Arms School, both in Bethesda. Kavanaugh’s classmate Mark Judge, she alleges, was an accomplice.

Ford has said she is open to testifying next week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Democrats have asked for an FBI investigation in into the allegations against Kavanaugh, although Republicans and President Trump have been resistant.

In an interview Friday, Kagan said she called for the state police investigation because any findings would help guide the discussion among senators who are voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“It has been distressing to watch the Republicans in the U.S. Senate to try to jam this nomination through an incomplete confirmation process. Because this is a lifetime appointment with only nine members on the Supreme Court, I would hope that Governor Hogan would want the U.S. Senate to have as much information as possible about Kavanaugh’s character,” she said.

Maryland law states that there is no statute of limitations on felonies, including sexual assault. Montgomery County Police spokesman Officer Rick Goodale said earlier this week that there were no plans for an investigation since nothing had been reported to his police force.

According to Maryland Matters, which originally reported the letter, Hogan said at a press conference Friday that the “Maryland State Police will not be getting involved in this,” but didn’t elaborate further.

Kagan tweeted in response that she hoped Hogan would “change his tune and decide to stand up for Maryland women who have been assaulted.”

Kagan herself has spoken about being sexually harassed multiple times in Annapolis, including earlier this year by former Del. Gil Genn, who is now a lobbyist. She said she immediately believed Ford when her allegations became public earlier this month.

“She has absolutely no incentive to fabricate a tragic story like this,” Kagan said. “Too many women have terrible secrets similar to hers that they have never shared. I applaud her courage for speaking out and for sacrificing her own safety and privacy to do so.”

MoCo Democratic Party takes neutral position on county ballot initiatives

The precinct leaders of the Montgomery County Democratic Party voted Thursday night to adopt a neutral position on the three ballot questions county residents will vote on in November.

Question A asks whether the selection process for the county’s redistricting committee should be altered. Every 10 years, a redistricting commission redraws the lines for the five district seats on the council by picking four members from the county Democratic and Republican central committees, plus one additional member.

The new plan outlined on the ballot would expand the commission from nine to 11 members. At least one, but no more than four, would have to be from each party that received more than 15 percent of the vote in the last county council general election. In addition, the commission would need to include at least one member from each of the five council districts.

Democrats have long been accused of gerrymandering state and federal districts in Maryland, and that was a topic that precinct members discussed at Thursday’s meeting. One member said deciding which position to take on the initiative was like a “game of dragons,” in that voting for the redistricting proposal could lead to losing Democratic seats on the council but voting against the proposal would reignite beliefs that the party is intent on maintaining a patronage system. Members on both sides weighed in.

“This mythical person who really wants to be on a redistricting body, they have an agenda,” said one member.

Another attendee responded that many unaffiliated voters are still interested in the political process, including college students.

Afterward, Scott Goldberg, the chair of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, said the number of differing views of the ballot question shows how it is a “big tent party.” He said the liberal county council chose to put the initiative on the ballot in order to make the redistricting process more democratic.

“There are a lot of Democratic activists, that even in Maryland would still unilaterally want to have a more nonpartisan redistricting process,” he said. “To my knowledge I haven’t seen any county council members out there advocating for or against, even at this meeting. They decided to leave it in the hands of the voters.”

The party also voted to remain neutral on Question B, which would require an affirmative vote by the entire county council on raising property taxes, and Question C, which would allow each council member to have at least one aide as a non-merit employee.

Dan Schere can be reached at dschere@bethesdamagazine.com.