Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baker Shifts Gears on Disclosure (Updated)

After his spokesman characterized early disclosure of campaign contributors as putting the campaign “at a strategic disadvantage,” Prince George’s County Executive candidate Rushern Baker is now promising to release his contributor list every sixty days and is challenging his rivals to do the same. Who would have believed that campaign finance would be an issue in this race?

Baker sent out the following email today:



Pledges to Disclose Donors Every Sixty Days

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2010

Contact: James Adams, desk 301.637.3224

Largo, MD – Team Baker today announced support for HR 1504, legislation in the House of Delegates that reforms campaign finance contributions, transfers, and reporting requirements.

Rushern Baker, Candidate for Prince Georges County Executive say’s “I have always supported disclosure of campaign finance information and I believe the citizens of Prince George’s County deserve full disclosure. Every sixty days I will release the names of donors to my campaign as required by HR 1504. I will continue to release this information every sixty days and I challenge other candidate’s for County Executive in Prince George’s County and Slates to do the same.”

Baker will also appear on the News Channel 8 program “News Talk” with Bruce DePuyt at 4pm today for a discussion of today’s announcement and other campaign related news.

Team Baker 2010 will hold a formal public announcement of his candidacy at the Iverson Mall in Hillcrest Heights Maryland on Wednesday at 9am.


James M. Adams
Team Baker Communications
Baker 2010
301.637.3224 Office

1100 Mercantile Lane
Suite 135B
Largo, MD 20774
Contributor disclosure became an issue after Baker’s slate (which this blog erroneously said had only one candidate) transferred $206,000 to his campaign fund and exploited a timing loophole to avoid disclosing the source of that money. Baker spokesman James Adams originally promised to reveal the contributors, but the campaign later angrily backed away from that pledge in both an email blast and a Gazette op-ed. Delegate Gerron Levi (D-23A), who is also running for County Executive, later introduced a bill to close the slate reporting loophole. Baker supports another bill by Delegate Justin Ross (D-22) providing additional campaign finance reports in May and July. Both bills were heard today in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Baker is clearly trying to regain the high ground on campaign finance from Levi, but he is doing it the right way: by pushing for more disclosure. Of course, if he reveals his own contributors without also revealing his slate’s contributors, it means little. We will see what he discloses and whether the other candidates respond to his worthy challenge.

The back-and-forth on this issue suggests differences of opinion inside the Baker camp. On the one hand, spokesman James Adams’s original intention to reveal the slate contributors would have put to rest the entire slate issue in the beginning if the campaign had listened to him. That would have saved them BIG headaches. On the other hand, the campaign contains hard-hitting, loyal defenders who take criticism of Baker personally and are determined to fight back against the media, whether MSM or blogs. Next time the two sides disagree, we suggest that Baker listen to Adams, who had this right the first time.

Update: The Post has an account of an amazing interview of Baker by News Channel 8 anchor Bruce DuPuyt in which the candidate fields questions about our six-part series on his campaign finances.