Washington County Ethics Commission member has longtime ties to Terry Baker

A member of the Washington County Ethics Commission for years has been closely aligned with Board of County Commissioners President Terry Baker, according to multiple Washington County residents who contacted A Miner Detail in the last week.

Retired Maryland State Police trooper Allen Swope is or was an active member of Citizens for the Protection of Washington County that actively promoted, campaigned and supported Terry Baker’s political campaigns. Swope was the co-chairman of the CPWC group as early as 2002.

Multiple sources told A Miner Detail that Baker and Swope have maintained a close friendship for many years.

Swope, 80, is an appointed member of the Washington County Ethics Commission and is currently reviewing a complaint leveled at Commissioner Baker by A Miner Detail’s editor in chief, Ryan Miner.

The complaint cites the County’s ethics ordinance and requests the Ethics Commission to investigate Commissioner Baker “for releasing personal and confidential information to the public regarding a sexual harassment investigation through statements to the press while using the prestige of his office to endorse an incomplete and misleading public statement regarding the findings of the sexual harassment report.”

Swope was appointed to the Ethics Commission by the five-member commissioner board and is currently serving his fourth term; although A Miner Detail has been unable to locate the minutes confirming confirmation of Swope’s latest term.

Swope and several core members of the CPWC group supported Baker in his previous commissioner campaigns, beginning in 2006, and publicly supported him in his 2016 congressional campaign for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Baker was defeated in the Republican congressional primary by former Pentagon official Amie Hoeber.

Multiple Washington County residents who contacted A Miner Detail characterized Swope as a “staunch and unrelenting supporter of Terry Baker,” describing the two men as “close friends” and “political allies.”

Swope and Baker are both self-described conservative Republicans.

A Facebook page for the group lists the following description of the organization:

Who we are:

CPWC is a non-profit and non-partisan organization made up of ordinary citizens striving to make Washington County a better place to live.

We are made up of an all-volunteer workforce from all walks of life. Our operation is totally dependent on membership dues and donations to get things done.

CPWC was founded to preserve the historic character of the lands and buildings of Washington County and to educate its citizens on environmental and historic issues through scientific, literary and educational activities and public events.

We partner with other non-profit, non partisan groups in achieving the aims and purposes of CPWC.

Our membership remains ever vigilant to the need for grassroots support and action in any matter relating to the greater public good, particularly, but not limited to matters relating to the protection and preservation of Washington County’s natural heritage.

What we do:

We serve as a watchdog over government actions that influence our quality of life. We remind elected officials who they are working for. All too often, local government does not heed the concern of citizens. CPWC jogs their memory through letters and phone calls, testimony at public meetings and communications with the media.

We offer reasonable solutions to pressing local problems. We provide a convenient forum for concerned citizens to discuss and debate environmental and historic issues and other matters of public concern.

We push for zoning ordinances that guide growth and prevent sprawl. We act as a much needed counter balance to developers and speculators who aggressively promote their agendas without regard the impact.

How we can help:

CPWC will oppose the acquisition and use of land judged to be detrimental to the health and well-being of the residents of Washington County.

We will push for legislation and regulations designed to preserve and protect the natural resources and farmland of Washington County. We look for enforcement of regulations and measures to ensure that developers pay their fair share of public cost associated with new building and construction..

We represent the taxpaying citizen. CPWC keeps local officials on notice that we will fight any ill-advised ventures that favor select few at our collective expense.

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