Sunday, April 19, 2009

District 4 Campaign Finance Reports, Part Two (Updated)

The second and last pre-primary reports due on April 10 are now mostly online. Nancy Navarro’s filing is not online but we obtained it directly from her campaign. Following are the cumulative receipts and spending totals for the candidates for both reports, as well as items of interest.

Ben Kramer

Beginning Balance: $316.44
Contributions: $2,875
Loans: $50,000
Expenditures: $50,118.54
End Balance: $3,072.90

Kramer has consistently led all candidates in receipts by loaning himself 95% of his campaign’s funding. His spending total is close to Nancy Navarro’s, but lags because she started with more than $40,000 left over from last year.

Kramer had five individual contributors since March 24 who gave him a combined $675, three of whom are newsworthy. Hilde Alter of Rockville gave him $100. Alter is the Chief Accounting Officer of Medical Office Properties Inc., a real estate manager based in Chevy Chase that once owned a portfolio of medical office buildings. Board of Education Member Laura Berthiaume defeated incumbent Steve Abrams in large part because of help from MCEA. That did not stop her from giving $100 to Kramer, who is running against MCEA-endorsed Nancy Navarro. And Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman, who endorsed Navarro in 2008, gave $200 to Kramer. That’s an interesting decision because the Town of Kensington is dependent on the District 5 County Council Member for constituent services. Unfortunately for Kensington residents, that Council Member is Valerie Ervin – Navarro’s strongest ally.

Kramer paid staffer Tom Smith (who used to work for Martin O’Malley and Marylanders United to Stop Slots) $4,000 this period. That makes Smith’s total take $8,000, more than what Kramer has paid former Praisner campaign manager Eric Hensal ($6,000). Kramer spent $21,030.52 this period on mailings and postage and $1,568.80 on printing and campaign materials. His biggest ad buy was a $675 purchase in Washington Jewish Week.

Cary Lamari

Beginning Balance: $0
Contributions: $4,432.24
Loans: $10,000
Expenditures: $4,260.54
End Balance: $10,171.70

Lamari led all candidates in contributions with $3,592.24 last time but only collected $840 in this period. Three contributors stand out. DiSalvatore Realty gave him $100. John DiSalvatore owns the shopping center property on the northwest corner of Georgia and Norbeck, right next to one of Ben Kramer’s properties. Dale Tibbitts, Council Member Marc Elrich’s Chief of Staff, gave him $100. And George Leventhal, one of four County Council Members who endorsed Navarro, contributed $100 to Lamari. When I asked Leventhal about that, he wrote me, “Cary Lamari asked me for a contribution and I was happy to respond. He is a dedicated and sincere advocate for Montgomery County neighborhoods.”

Lamari spent $2,361.46 on postage and $166.21 on printing and campaign materials in the most recent period. Lamari is known by many in Leisure World because of his activism on Georgia at Norbeck and on the ICC, but his total spending is likely not enough to build his name recognition in other parts of the district.

Nancy Navarro

Beginning Balance: $43,220.69
Contributions: $28,645
Loans: $0
Expenditures: $66,573.63
End Balance: $5,576.95

Navarro has received more in contributions (not including loans) than the rest of the candidates combined. Nineteen individuals and entities have given her $500 or more during this election so far. Collectively, they account for 76% of her receipts. They are:

SEIU MD/DC State Council: $3,000
BUILD-PAC of Maryland: $3,000
Mid-Atlantic Laborers Political Education Fund: $2,500
Friends of George Leventhal: $2,000
Democratic Women’s PAC of Maryland: $2,000
United Food & Commercial Workers Union: $1,000
Sheet Metal Workers Local 100: $1,000
MCGEO Local 1994: $1,000
James Soltesz, Potomac, MD: $1,000
Artery Development LLC: $750
Amalgamated Transit Union COPE Account: $500
Milagros McGuire, Bethesda, MD: $500
Hispanic Democratic Club: $500
Jeffrey Zane Slavin, Chevy Chase, MD: $500
David Weiss, Chevy Chase, MD: $500
Bethesda Center LLC, Washington, DC: $500
David D. Flanagan, McLean, VA: $500
R. William Hard, Potomac, MD: $500
Shirley Brandman, Bethesda, MD: $500

Soltesz is the CEO of Loiederman Soltesz Associates, a land development firm. Milagros McGuire and her husband, Dennis McGuire, are retirees who frequently contribute to Democratic candidates. Slavin is the President of C.J. O'Shaughnessy, Inc., a real estate firm, and is the Mayor of the Town of Somerset. Weiss is a member of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce. His company, Monty LLC, is a Montgomery County developer. Bethesda Center LLC’s address (3299 K St. NW Ste. 700) matches The Bernstein Companies, a major metropolitan development firm. Flanagan is President of Elm Street Development, a residential developer that built Clarksburg Village. Hard is the Executive Vice-President of LCOR, a development firm. Brandman is the current President of the Board of Education.

Other contributors of interest include Board of Education Member Chris Barclay ($175), District 20 Delegate Heather Mizeur ($150), former District 5 County Council candidate Hans Riemer ($150), Verizon Communications ($125) and Board of Education Member Judith Docca ($100).

During the 2009 special election, we estimate that labor unions supplied 31% of Navarro’s funding. In the first pre-primary report, SEIU Local 500 reported a $2,500 in-kind contribution for the services of Jackie Lichter, their political director who is now working as Navarro’s deputy campaign manager. No in-kind contribution appeared on the second report. We do not know of any union contributions to any other candidate besides Navarro.

Navarro spent $23,430 on media this period, an amount that far exceeded Kramer ($965.44) and every other candidate. Almost all of it went to TruPolitics LLC, a consulting firm based in Ellicott City. She paid salaries to three staffers: campaign manager David Moon ($3,500), Ken Silverman ($1,015) and Alexis Reed ($1,000). She has advertised on both CBS Radio ($900) and Radio America ($450). She is the only candidate to rent a campaign office.

Incidentally, while the State Board of Elections (SBE) does not have Navarro’s report, it was compiled one day before the April 10 deadline. That fits with her campaign’s claims that a transmission error prevented it from getting to SBE. As a campaign treasurer myself, I can attest to the problems with its atrocious ELECTrack software. See the date report on her submission below.

During the latest period, Republican Andrew Padula received $475, Green Party candidate George Gluck collected $230 and Democrat Thomas Hardman received $80. The other candidates do not have reports listed on the State Board of Elections website. These totals are simply not enough to mount a competitive campaign. In last year’s special election, Steve Kanstoroom loaned himself $47,573.96 and finished third in the Democratic primary with 10.76% of the vote. A candidate with no money and no name recognition has no chance.

Disclosure: I am the Assistant to the General President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Our Mid-Atlantic Regional Council gave Navarro $6,000 last year, the maximum amount allowed by the state. I have not donated any money to any District 4 candidate and am not volunteering for any of them.

Update: An informant points out that Elm Street and LCOR, two of Navarro’s contributors, specialize in projects near Metro stations. That fits with Navarro’s views on transit-oriented development.