The lawyers of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold concede that he used poor judgment ("Leopold not guilty on one misconduct count," Jan. 25). The same could be said of embezzlers, identity thieves and other convicted criminals. The use of public employees for personal tasks by an elected official is no less a theft than any other white collar crime and should be treated as such in the courts.

At the very least, Mr. Leopold should be fined and required to reimburse the taxpayers for the time of county employees in his protection detail and any other public employees used to conduct political activities — such as distributing his campaign signage and driving him around while he tore down his opponents' signs while on the public clock! That is the same as if a president had his Secret Service staff or Marine guards doing the same in our nation's capitol!

Does our state have anything similar to the federal Hatch Act which would apply to all elected and appointed officials in both state and local jurisdictions? If not, we need to enact such legislation.

George Cohen, Hampden

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