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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

USM board member resigns to comply with 2006 law

A former top official in the Hogan administration, Sam  Malhotra had to step down from the USM Board of Regents because he is GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schulz's campaign treasurer. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

A former top official in the Hogan administration, Sam Malhotra had to step down from the USM Board of Regents because he is GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schulz’s campaign treasurer. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

A member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents has resigned because of his involvement in a newly announced campaign for governor.

The resignation is part of a confusing pair of announcements Friday by board Chairwoman Linda Gooden in which it was made public that both Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Sam Malhotra resigned their positions on the board. The resignations were announced with few details Friday morning, one day after university officials and Schulz were asked about a 2006 law prohibiting regents from involvement in campaigns.

“We also have sadly two regents who will be leaving the board: Kelly Schulz and Sam Malhotra,” said Gooden during a morning meeting of the regents.

Schulz’s resignation was walked back several hours later by a board spokesman.

“Also, I’ve been asked to let you know Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz has not resigned from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents,” said Mike Lurie, in an email. “The ex-officio position of the commerce secretary on the board is set in statute, and her legal team is in the process of reviewing those membership provisions.”

News of the resignation of Malhotra comes after The Daily Record asked about his membership on the board and a 2006 law that prohibits members from serving as treasurers on political campaigns.

Gooden provided no details about the resignation but an email provided to The Daily Record by the University System of Maryland shows that Malhotra discussed his resignation on Thursday and confirmed it in an email sent after 10 p.m.

Schulz, a Frederick County Republican, announced her candidacy for governor on Wednesday. In addition to her role in Gov. Larry Hogan’s Cabinet, she served as an ex officio member of the board.

Malhotra, who previously served as the secretary of the Department of Human Resources and later as Hogan’s chief of staff, was appointed to the board by Hogan in October 2019.

Malhotra is the treasurer for Schulz’s campaign, according to filings with the Maryland State Board of Elections on April 14.

Schulz did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2006, the General Assembly passed legislation that bars board members from running for public office. The law also prohibits board members from raising money or serving as a campaign chair or treasurer for a candidate for governor, attorney general, comptroller or the General Assembly.

The legislation was aimed at Richard Hug, who raised $10 million for Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, who was a member of the board. Ehrlich vetoed the bill, but it became law after an override vote by the General Assembly.

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