August 04, 2014

Publications feature Karl Racine’s recommendation of no county-issued credit cards for Montgomery County school board members

2 min

Karl Racine's Independent Report of allegations of ethical and possible criminal conduct regarding the Montgomery County School Board’s (“MCSB or Board”) use of Board issued credit cards for personal expenses generated significant news coverage in the Greater Washington area from 2012 – 2014. Venable’s investigation did not uncover ethical nor criminal violation.

The Venable team’s – Karl Racine, Samantha Williams, Kristin Koger – work also involved recommending changes to the Board’s policies. During a publicly held Board meeting Racine conveyed Venable’s recommendation that Board members cease using County issued credit cards going forward. The Board accepted Venable’s recommendations, and thus, will no longer be issued County credits cards.

According to a July 22, 2014 Washington Post, Venable’s review found “relatively few instances of what, in hindsight, could be viewed as questionable judgment,” and it “did not uncover evidence of intentional action taken to improperly use the credit cards for personal expenses.” However, the review said the school system’s policies contained “inconsistencies and ambiguities.”

Racine told the board that getting rid of the credit cards “should eliminate the possibilities of mistakes,” according to on July 22. “It is the conclusion of our independent investigation that no board member sought to intentionally take board money for their own personal use,” he added. Racine said the “overwhelming majority” of expenses were consistent with current guidelines but there is not sufficient “ongoing” training of best practices and members rely too much on “anecdotal norms.”