ANNAPOLIS — A college professor from Urbana claimed his position as Frederick County’s newest state delegate on Wednesday, taking his oath of office despite a last-minute snag related to several campaign finance infractions.
His wife at his side, Barrie Ciliberti assumed his legislative role with a brief ceremony in the House of Delegates chambers, where just minutes later Gov. Larry Hogan would deliver his first State of the State address. Earlier this week, Hogan chose Ciliberti to fill the seat recently relinquished by Kelly Schulz, who took a job in the governor’s Cabinet.
Ciliberti said he was delighted to accept the appointment as District 4 delegate, the office he unsuccessfully sought in last year’s elections.
“The campaign was over June 24, but it really didn’t end until two days ago,” Ciliberti said after he took the oath of office.
For Ciliberti, Wednesday was something of an “emotional tsunami,” from Hogan’s speech to the standing ovation he received from fellow lawmakers on the House floor, he said.
However, the day got off to a bit of a rough start. The 78-year-old Republican was initially scheduled to be sworn in at 10 a.m., but the ceremony was delayed for more than an hour so he could deal with outstanding campaign finance issues related to last year’s delegate bid.
Wednesday morning, online state election records showed Ciliberti’s campaign owed $640 in fines because of tardy or missing finance reports.
One of these violations was referred to the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor, the elections website showed Wednesday morning. A representative of the state prosecutor’s office would not comment on whether his agency was investigating the infractions.
Later in the day, the online election records showed all of Ciliberti’s campaign violations had been closed.
A state elections official said Ciliberti on Wednesday morning paid his outstanding fines and filed two missing campaign finance reports. Ciliberti is now in full compliance with campaign finance requirements, said Jared DeMarinis, the state’s director of candidacy and campaign finance.
Ciliberti later said the campaign issues turned into a “tempest in a teapot” and were resolved within five minutes.
Delegate Kathy Afzali, who chairs the county’s delegation to Annapolis, downplayed Ciliberti’s missing reports as a “paperwork issue” that was easily resolved.
“Campaign finance is one of those things that’s the thorn in every delegate and senator’s side,” said Afzali, R-District 4. “As you know, we have regulations in the state of Maryland, and it’s very hard as a delegate and a senator to know every one of those.”
Afzali said she is glad the election is over and that Frederick County finally has a full contingent of state representatives. Schulz resigned her seat when Hogan took office last month.
Ciliberti, an associate professor at Bowie State University who served a stint in the state Legislature in the 1990s, was nominated as Schulz’s replacement by Republican committees in both Carroll and Frederick counties, the jurisdictions that encompass District 4.
Ciliberti’s arrival to Annapolis was welcomed Wednesday by Delegate David E. Vogt III, who said he was glad to move on from what ended up being a contentious search for Schulz’s replacement.
“I’m glad that the turmoil is over,” said Vogt, another Republican representing District 4. “Now, we’ve got somebody we’ve got to unite behind.”