BALTIMORE — As properties associated with Mayor Catherine Pugh were raided by FBI and IRS investigators Thursday morning , local elected officials voiced their growing concerns about Pugh, the scandal that has engulfed City Hall and associated organizations, and their desire to see Pugh step aside.
Governor Larry Hogan released a statement
Thursday morning, calling for Pugh to resign, citing the current FBI operations and his own request for an
investigation into Pugh's dealings with the University System of Maryland's Medical System.
Baltimore District 2 City Councilman Brandon Scott was one of the first elected officials to weigh in on news of the raid, releasing a statement reiterating his stance on Pugh vacating her office.
“Mayor Pugh should resign immediately,” Scott's statement said. “Baltimore needs to move forward and heal from this embarrassment. Baltimore is a great and resilient city, but we can't waste anymore time on this issues. There are many important issues in front of us that require the complete attention of a full-time Mayor. Our focus must continue to be fighting crime and improving the schools in our city.”
Ex Officio Mayor Jack Young, who assumed the role as dictated by the city’s plan of succession from his previous post as the City Council President, called Thursday’s proceedings “embarrassing for the city,” but he did not weigh in on if Pugh should resign.
“That’s her personal decision,” Young said. “That’s not a decision that I should make, or I should even talk about. I can’t tell you all enough that that’s her decision and I’m going to keep telling you that.”
Congressman Elijah Cummings, who has long-represented Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District, which comprises Baltimore, released a statement following the FBI’s actions Thursday. He joined the growing ranks advising Pugh to put the city first and "do what's in the best interest" of Baltimore.
“Baltimore needs and deserves leadership that is above reproach and which can lead the City forward in ways that engender the trust and confidence of all essential stakeholders,” Cummings said in a statement. “No one questions Mayor Pugh’s passion for Baltimore City and its citizens. At the same time, the circumstances now require that she also provide an example of accountability for those same people. We all want her health to be restored and to now focus on these very grave matters that have everything to do with her personal business endeavors and nothing to do with the priorities of the City of Baltimore.”
Joshua Harris, who is vying for the city's 40th District Delegate seat and who ran against Pugh in the 2016 Mayoral race as the Green Party’s candidate, issued a statement decrying Pugh’s behavior and calling it an example of further local corruption.
“Mayor Pugh should resign immediately; however, we must be keenly aware that this is not a just a Catherine Pugh problem. It is also a structural flaw in the way in which big money influences our politics and ultimately the lives of our citizens,” Harris said. “Our system is broken and there are many others currently in leadership positions, in both the city, state government as well as public and private institutions, that have only perpetuated the problems we see today. We need reform.”