In Statement, Jalisi Blasts ‘Smear Campaign’ and ‘Sham Investigation’

    Del. Hasan M. “Jay” Jalisi (D-Baltimore County), accused in a new report by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics of being abusive to General Assembly staff members over the past five years, released a statement early Tuesday morning referring to the ethics probe as “a sham investigation.”

    The statement, released on the lawmaker’s Facebook page and not widely circulated, was responding to the report and recommendation by the ethics committee that Jalisi be reprimanded for his behavior. The full House is expected to vote on a reprimand later in the week.

    Jalisi’s page-long statement does not address specific allegations against him, but refers to a flawed and biased investigation.

    “Since getting elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 2014, I have spent thousands of hours in the service of my constituents, and I am proud of this record,” he writes. “Sadly, over the past few months, I have been the target of a nasty smear campaign and a sham investigation by a powerful lobby in Annapolis.”

    Jalisi’s statement does not address what powerful lobby is targeting him or conducting the “sham investigation.”

    The lawmaker did say that the ethics committee refused to take his testimony – contradicting a passage in the panel’s report – and argued that he and his staff are being treated unfairly because the legislature continued to pay staffers of other lawmakers who have run afoul of the General Assembly’s ethics rules.

    “How does not paying my staff help them or anyone?!!” Jalisi asks.

    Jalisi, who skipped House sessions Tuesday morning and Monday evening, did not discuss any future disciplinary action that might be taken against him, but concluded his statement by writing, “I am hopeful that my constituents will continue to stand with me and not be swayed by this political hit.”

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.