Monday, March 01, 2010

Transactions Worth Noting, Part One (Updated)

Buried in the new contribution reports are little nuggets. Some may be gold, some may be zirconium and some may be scrap metal. Read the following and you can decide.

County Executive Ike Leggett contributed $1,500 to District 4 County Council candidate Nancy Navarro on 5/12/09 after endorsing Ben Kramer in the 2009 special election primary. Navarro also received $2,000 from Governor Martin O’Malley on 5/13/09 and $2,000 from Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown on 7/8/09. Navarro was the only MoCo politician to whom the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor contributed last year. Navarro’s opponent in the general election was anti-tax activist Robin Ficker, a man whom neither the County Executive nor the Governor apparently wanted to see holding elected office.

District 17 Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan received a total of $4,000 from the MoCo Career Fire Fighters PAC, but returned $1,000 to comply with her self-imposed “Clean Seventeen” pledge. That pledge restricts Kagan to a maximum contribution level of half the legal limit. The Fire Fighters are the only institutional supporter of Kagan of whom we are aware.

Senator Nancy King (D-39) received two $1,000 checks from Senate President Mike “Big Daddy” Miller on 6/1/09 and 12/28/09. Miller also gave $1,000 to Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18) and another $1,000 to Senator Mike Lenett (D-19).

District 19 Delegate candidate Sam “Hunk of the Hill” Arora received an incredible 666 individual contributions for $64,460. One of those contributors was former DNC Chair and Virginia Governor candidate Terry McAuliffe, who gave Arora $1,000 on 11/22/09. Only 30% of Arora’s contributions came from Maryland. That figure excludes his $45,000 loan to himself.

Council Member Valerie Ervin gave $150 to occasional ally and occasional adversary Council Member Marc Elrich on 12/7/09. Elrich also received contributions from fellow Council Members Roger Berliner ($2,000 on 1/11/10), Duchy Trachtenberg ($1,000 on 1/11/10) and Phil Andrews ($150 on 1/12/10) and District 39 Delegate Saqib Ali ($200 on 10/21/09).

Former County Executive Doug Duncan spent $39.86 on 7/28/09 for “domain registration.” The check went to former Duncan staffer Jerry “Darth Vader” Pasternak. Duncan contributed $2,000 to Comptroller Peter Franchot, $1,000 to at-large County Council candidate Becky Wagner and $1,000 to District 19 Delegate candidate and former MCEA President Bonnie Cullison, all on 1/12/10.

Former District 39 Senator Patrick J. Hogan made 20 contributions from his old campaign account for $7,010 last year. The biggest recipients were Governor O’Malley (two $1,000 checks plus a $500 check), Big Daddy ($1,000) and Speaker Mike Busch (two $500 checks).

Potomac resident Patrick Lacefield, County Executive Ike Leggett’s spokesman, made two contributions in the last reporting year to Council Member George Leventhal ($100 on 11/29/09) and District 14 Delegate Anne Kaiser ($25 on 12/1/09). Lacefield does not live in Kaiser’s district. publisher Len Lazarick gave $60 to the Republican State Central Committee of Maryland on 6/8/09. This follows other contributions of $30 (on 4/24/03) and $35 (on 5/7/04) to the Howard County Republican Central Committee and $40 to the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee on 5/30/06. We traced’s funding to right-wing groups last year. The founders of competitor Center Maryland, on the other hand, have contributed $54,802 to state and local politicians over the last ten years, with 92% of the money going to Democrats. Both sites claim to be sources of objective news.

More transactions tomorrow!

Update: Len Lazarick says that his “contributions” to the GOP were actually meal reimbursements when he was covering their events. We appreciate Lazarick’s discussion of the issue. Truthfully, we are much more interested in why Center Maryland founder Howard Libit wrote a $1,000 check to Doug Gansler on the very day that Center Maryland began operations.