Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Daddy Smokes Saqib Ali

On May 28, we reported on a push poll targeting Saqib Ali. No one claimed responsibility for it. But new campaign finance data points the finger in one clear direction: Senate President Mike "Big Daddy" Miller.

Back in January, Miller formed a slate account allowing members of his leadership team (including Senators Ed Kasemeyer, Brian Frosh, Rob Garagiola and Mac Middleton) to steer unlimited amounts of money to two Senators who were regarded as possibly vulnerable: Baltimore County's Kathy Klausmeier and Montgomery County's Nancy King. The GOP's efforts against Klausmeier collapsed, but King drew a primary challenge from Delegate Saqib Ali. Miller is eager to keep Ali out of the Senate because of Ali's grandstanding, trouble-making and general uncontrollability. The slate account is just one tool that Big Daddy will use in that endeavor.

The slate has now filed its financial report for the period ending August 10. The account reported receipts of $3,000 from Philip Morris USA Inc., $1,000 from Miller, $1,000 from Frosh, $4,000 from the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association PAC, $750 from the Allegheny Power PAC and $2,500 each from SEIU and the state teachers' PAC.

The slate made two expenditures of $6,200 (on 5/11/10) and $650 (on 5/24/10) to Momentum Analysis LLC of Washington, DC for "research."

The firm's services include "surveys," i.e., polls. The timing of these payments immediately precedes the push poll on Ali, which occurred during the week of May 24th. No member of the slate other than King had a competitive race at that time and therefore had need of a poll. At the time, a source close to Miller denied responsibility for the poll. The above evidence now suggests that source was not truthful with us.

If Mike Miller indeed used tobacco money to run a push poll against any Democratic candidate, that is a shameful act that stains the entire party.