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ROCKVILLE, Md. – Leaving office may not be enough for
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose to shake
ethics laws and profit from his book deal, officials
Publishing confidential information about the Beltway
sniper case could put in jeopardy any money Moose
makes from his 336-page tome, “Three Weeks in October:
The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper.”
Outgoing Police Chief Charles A. Moose
County ethics laws bar employees from not only
profiting from the prestige of their office, but also
from disclosing confidential government information.
The confidentiality provision applies to both current
and former employees, a Montgomery County
Ethics Commission official told WorldNetDaily.
“We’ll have to wait until the book comes out, and then
the commission can take a look at it and the public
can take a look at, and either the commission on its
own or a member of the public can file a complaint if
they think he has violated the confidentiality
provision,” the official said.
Moose’s resignation, effective June 28, “does not moot
the case,” he asserted.
What’s more, Moose will have to give up any money he
received for outside deals while he was a county
employee, including a $4,250 movie option fee he
pocketed earlier this year.
But that’s not all.
“He may be liable for any monies he receives after
leaving for work he did while he was a county employee
that violated the prestige-of-office provision,” the
county official said.
The commission will have to review the outside work
Moose did as a county employee, he said, “and see if
they will need to go after all or part of his
In a closed hearing before the five-member panel in
March, Moose admitted already working on a few
chapters with writer Charles Fleming.
He stands to make $170,000 in just advance money from
New York-based Dutton Publishing Inc. That does not
include royalties from sales.
It’s not clear if Moose will now drop his First
Amendment lawsuits against the ethics commission.
Moose’s lawyer, Ronald Karp, did not return phone
During the March hearing, commissioner Steven Shaw
asked Moose if he planned to reveal sensitive
information about the sniper investigation, such as
telephone conversations with other law enforcement
Moose testily replied: “Again, I came here to ask
permission to work. I didn’t come here to ask you to
approve the literary, you know, form.”
But the next week, in a letter he and his lawyer
drafted to the panel, he offered to let at least his
immediate supervisor review his manuscript for
“I would be more than happy to submit the drafts of
any books or screenplays to the chief administrative
officer in Montgomery County to assure that breaches
of confidentiality do not occur,” he said in the March
10 letter obtained by WorldNetDaily.
“As you may know,” he cautioned, “there were
approximately 2,000 individuals involved in the sniper
investigation, and I alone cannot possibly assure you
that no breaches of confidentiality will ever occur.”
In his March 3 testimony, he assured the panel he
wouldn’t write “something that’s gonna ruin the
But police chiefs and prosecutors in neighboring
counties where the sniper suspects will be first tried
warn that Moose’s book could jeopardize their cases.
Lawyers for sniper defendants John Allen Muhammad and
Lee Boyd Malvo also have expressed concerns. The book
is scheduled for release in October, when Muhammad’s
trial starts. Malvo’s trial begins the next month.
Moose argues there’s no guarantee the trials will take
place as scheduled.
“They could die in prison. They could flee,” he said
of Muhammad and Malvo. “Any number of things could
happen” between now and the book’s release.
Bruce Romer is the chief administrative officer who
served as Moose’s immediate supervisor under County
Executive Douglas Duncan, who hired Moose in 1999.
Both endorsed Moose’s outside ventures.
Only, they belatedly asked the ethics commission for
the necessary waivers for them.
Page 2 of Moose’s “Employment Agreement,” signed July
6, 1999, clearly states: “Employee understands that in
accordance with the Montgomery County Public Ethics
Law, employee will need to obtain the consent of the
Montgomery County Ethics Commission before engaging in
Yet it wasn’t until March 3 of this year that Moose
formally requested the waivers. And he didn’t ask for
one or two, but five – all for money-making ventures
he’d already started, including a teaching gig at
Montgomery College, a National Guard job, the book
deal, the movie deal and a crisis
consulting business he started with his wife just four
weeks after the snipers were caught.
Montgomery County Ethics Commission Vice Chairman
Jerome Joseph was not amused.
“I would have preferred that you come in with one or
two requests for outside employment instead of five,”
he told Moose.
“We did not bring those applications [for waivers] to
you in a timely manner,” Moose admitted in his
Sandy Herman-Moose, testifying alongside her husband
as “his lawyer” (though she’s not licensed to
practice), told the panel she was angry to learn he
was not in compliance with ethics rules.
“Now, I am told that on issue one with you, he didn’t
get the waivers properly,” she said. “That’s a given.
He says so. I want to kick his butt for that, OK?”
But she says Romer approved his teaching and National
Guard jobs when he was hired, because she recalled
telling him that her husband was “on track to be a
“When we talked to Mr. Romer, about coming here, there
was no mincing of words – my husband’s a teacher,
he’s taught [in Portland, Ore.], and he’s a police
chief,” she said. “And he is in the Air National
Guard, and they have him on a track to be a general,
because if you look outside of Washington, D.C., there
aren’t even very many black generals, especially those
with Ph.D.s, OK?”
It’s not clear if Moose, who did not return phone
calls from Andrews Air Force Base where he’s on active
duty, still plans to donate a portion of the proceeds
from his book and movie deals to charity.
“My plan is to set up a charitable foundation with a
full board of directors, where a portion of the
proceeds from my book, film or other private endeavors
will be deposited for the purpose of assisting victims
of violence,” he vowed in his March 10 letter to the
As WorldNetDaily first reported, Moose’s wife
complained to the ethics board that a life in public
service has deprived her of household luxuries such as
antiques. Moose, who drives a BMW, groused about
his wife’s and stepson’s law school bills.
He also argued he should be allowed to supplement his
$160,000-plus salary – the highest among county
officials (excluding the school superintendent) and
Maryland police chiefs – with outside contracts,
because he makes
less than the new chief of the Atlanta Police