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Md. Republican legislator seeks to impeach Hogan

Maryland Del. Dan Cox, R-Frederick and Carroll, applauds during the first day of the state’s 2021 legislative session on Jan. 13, 2021, in Annapolis. (AP File Photo/Julio Cortez)

A Republican member of the House of Delegates has filed to impeach Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Del. Dan Cox, R-Carroll and Frederick and a candidate for his party’s nomination for governor, filed the resolution Thursday. He has not respond to multiple requests from a reporter seeking comment.

In a post on Facebook Cox wrote: “Without malice, I have had to do my duty under the Maryland Constitution. I have filed Articles of Impeachment against Governor Larry Hogan.”

Cox’s attempt is a long shot to get out of the House Rules Committee.

In his resolution, Cox accuses  Hogan of “malfeasance in office, misuse of police power, violations of separation of powers, theft of the people’s liberty and property, deprivation of religious liberties of the people and abuse of power under false pretenses.”

All of the complaints in the resolution relate to Hogan’s actions during the pandemic including the purchase of COVID-19 test kits from South Korea in 2020. Cox charged that Hogan violated the law by using tests that were not approved by the federal government. 

“This guy is known to be a QAnon conspiracy theorist,” said Michael Ricci, a Hogan spokesman. “He has this weird obsession with the governor. Surprised it took this long, frankly.”

Included in the charges are Hogan’s orders closing non-essential businesses early in the pandemic as well as capacity limits that affected businesses and churches. Cox also charges that Hogan overstepped his authority when the state health department limited the use of hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin.

The drugs at times have been presented by some, including President Donald Trump, as cures, treatments and preventative treatments. Those claims remain unsubstantiated.

The delegate also charges Hogan violated his oath of office by refusing to release communications with his coronavirus advisors and used the encrypted application Wickr. The app allowed Hogan and his team to ensure the messages were deleted once read.

The messages “may have also included his unlawful decision to fly and bus into state, under cover of night, thousands of unvetted unlawful-entry foreign nationals, and then release them onto our streets, endangering the public safety and health,” Cox speculates in his resolution.

Cox is currently the only sponsor on the resolution. It is not clear how many others might also support the charges but leaders of the 42-member House Republican Caucus said it did not have caucus support.

“No, it’s not supported by caucus certainly,” said Del. Jason Buckel, R-Allegany and leader of the House Republican Caucus.

Buckel said he had not seen a copy of Cox’s resolution and could not specifically comment on the claims.

A top aide to one of Cox’s Republican rivals for the gubernatorial nomination was quick to respond.

“Dan Cox is what happens when crazy meets stupid. A person who believes that Mike Pence is a traitor and that the Chinese Communist Party has infiltrated Maryland state government is not a rational actor,” said Doug Mayer, a former Hogan spokesman who is now a senior adviser to the Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schulz. “Unfortunately for his constituents, he’s also an extremely ineffective legislator who consistently fails to do anything remotely productive in service to them. Add today’s nonsense to his long list of failures.”

This is not the first conflict between Cox and Hogan.

Cox, who is finishing his first term in the House and is an attorney, represented a number of businesses and churches in an unsuccessful federal lawsuit against Hogan over pandemic orders that closed businesses. Cox took on the governor again when he sponsored legislation — that did not pass — which would have limited executive authority regarding states of emergency.

Cox has also called Schulz a “RINO” — Republican in name only.

Last year, the delegate apologized in writing to fellow lawmakers for calling Republican Vice President Mike Pence “a traitor” on the afternoon of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. He later deleted his Twitter account.

Cox, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, organized two buses of supporters to D.C. for that rally but has maintained he did not participate in the storming of the Capitol.

Trump later endorsed Cox’s 2022 campaign for governor.

Other Maryland Republicans have tried similar tactics in an effort to punish or embarrass political opponents.

Former Del. Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel, unsuccessfully attempted to impeach then-Attorney General Doug Gansler in 2010. Dwyer objected to an opinion issued by Gansler that recognized out-of-state same-sex marriages two years before the unions were legalized in Maryland.

That same year, Dwyer unsuccessfully attempted to impeach M. Brooke Murdock, a now-retired Baltimore City Circuit Court judge who ruled the state’s ban against same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.