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Jon Cardin
(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Cardin took full food allowance during session

Del. Jon S. Cardin filed for the full daily food allowance provided to legislators during the 90-day General Assembly session despite missing a majority of committee votes taken in the 2014 session.

Cardin, a three-term legislator from Baltimore County and the front-runner in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, said he was entitled to the reimbursements and that they conformed to state law.

“I submitted the appropriate documentation like all legislators do, requesting per diem for the days I was in Annapolis. I followed every rule and checked with (Department of Legislative Services)-Finance to confirm that it was all done correctly,” Cardin said in a prepared statement he gave both in an interview and later emailed.

Cardin filed for reimbursement for 64 days at the full $42 daily rate — totaling $2,688, according to the Department of Legislative Services.

In a brief interview, Cardin acknowledged the reimbursement amount. He said he filed for every day except for one on which he was absent.

State law doesn’t require the submission of receipts in order to be eligible for the per diem. Legislators only need to check a box to request the reimbursement so long as they remain at or below $42.

The full reimbursement comes at a time when Cardin had run into criticism regarding his attendance at committee voting sessions. The delegate missed almost 75 percent of the voting sessions held this year by the House Ways and Means Committee, of which he is a member.

“Any allegations that I violated rules is being perpetuated by the lies of my opponent and his supporters desperately scrambling to help their candidate who lags in the polls,” Cardin said in both an interview and his written statement.

Cardin is locked in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general with Sen. Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery, and Del. Aisha N. Braveboy, D-Prince George’s.

Frosh, a five-term senator who also served two terms in the House of Delegates, filed for reimbursement for $1,470.09 in food allowance.

Braveboy, a two-term member of the House of Delegates, filed for $2,604 in food allowance reimbursement.

Last month, the Baltimore Sun reported that Cardin missed 120 of 164 committee votes. The three-term delegate declined to be interviewed for that story.

Cardin issued a statement two days later saying that “there were nights where I needed to be home with my expecting wife and our young daughter. I don’t regret making that choice. “

He told the paper he missed other sessions because of religious observances.

Del. Talmadge Branch, D-Baltimore, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told the Baltimore Sun last month that Cardin left early on at least some days in order to campaign.

During an interview Monday, Cardin said he did not go home early but instead worked long hours, sometimes into the early evening. He did not answer questions about how that schedule resulted in missing a majority of committee votes.

“I arrived daily in Annapolis for the 90-day session at 6:30 a.m., working hard all day on the issues important to Maryland families,” Cardin said in the interview and statement. “I listened to testimony, debated bills and marked up all the legislation that came before my committee. In fact, I had the most successful session of my career, turning high-schoolers into lifesavers, giving overdose victims a second chance and protecting women from online revenge porn. I got my work done in Annapolis and then would leave in the evenings to attend to health needs of my pregnant wife during a rocky first trimester.”