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Letter to BoE re: Ehrlich Contributions 031810

Letter to BoE re: Ehrlich Contributions 031810

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Published by: Maryland Democratic Party on Mar 18, 2010
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33
 
West
 
Street,
 
Suite200
 
|
 
Annapolis,
 
MD
 
21401
 
Baltimore/Annapolis
 
Area
 
(410)
 
269
8818
 
|
 
Washington
 
Area
 
(301)
 
858
8818
 
|
 
Fax
 
(410)
 
280
8882
 
www.mddems.org
 
Paid
 
for
 
by
 
the
 
Maryland
 
Democratic
 
Party,
 
www.mddems.org,
 
and
 
not
 
authorized
 
by
 
any
 
federal
 
candidate
 
or
 
candidate's
 
committee.
 
By
 
authority
 
of 
 
Ngoc
 
Chu,
 
Treasurer.
 
March 18, 2010
 
Linda Lamone, State Administrator of ElectionsJared DeMarinis, Director, Candidacy & Campaign Finance Div.State Board of Elections151 West StreetSuite 200Annapolis, MD 21401Dear Administrator Lamone and Director DeMarinis:The Maryland Democratic Party is writing to call the State Board’s attention to potentialviolations of the state campaign finance laws by the Baltimore law offices of Womble CarlyleSandridge & Rice, which has been serving as the
de facto
campaign headquarters for formerGovernor Robert Ehrlich. As explained below, Gov. Ehrlich has apparently been using theresources of the firm’s Baltimore offices to promote his candidacy for state office, but Gov.Ehrlich’s authorized campaign finance entity, Bob Ehrlich for Maryland Committee, has notreported receipt of any in-kind contribution from the law firm. Further, it may well be the casethat the Baltimore offices of the firm have already exceeded the applicable per-candidate oraggregate contribution limits in making these secret, unreported in-kind contributions, over anextended period of time.Gov. Ehrlich became the founding partner of the Baltimore office of Womble Carlyle inFebruary, 2007. Three of the individuals who served on his personal official staff and/orcampaign staff while he was Governor joined the Firm at that time: Henry Fawell, Greg Massoniand Paul Schurick. See “Ehrlich to Help Open Md. Branch of Law Firm,” Washington
Post,
 Feb. 22, 2007.Over the past three years, Mr. Fawell has continually served as a spokesperson for Gov.Ehrlich on matters bearing directly on Gov. Ehrlich’s potential candidacy, while being paid byWomble Carlyle. For example:
 
 
33
 
West
 
Street,
 
Suite200
 
|
 
Annapolis,
 
MD
 
21401
 
Baltimore/Annapolis
 
Area
 
(410)
 
269
8818
 
|
 
Washington
 
Area
 
(301)
 
858
8818
 
|
 
Fax
 
(410)
 
280
8882
 
www.mddems.org
 
Paid
 
for
 
by
 
the
 
Maryland
 
Democratic
 
Party,
 
www.mddems.org,
 
and
 
not
 
authorized
 
by
 
any
 
federal
 
candidate
 
or
 
candidate's
 
committee.
 
By
 
authority
 
of 
 
Ngoc
 
Chu,
 
Treasurer.
 
 
In a December 2007 article reporting the findings of a state audit of licensing of mortgagebrokers, “Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell declined to address the audit’s findings. Buthe said that Ehrlich worked hard to boost homeownership and that O’Malley has beenhappy to claim credit for his programs. ‘If there are teachers and nurses and policeofficers who the O’Malley administration thinks are unworthy of their homes, that’s theirproblem,’ he said. ‘But Governor Ehrlich is happy to have helped them.’” Jay Hancock,“Audit faults Md. oversight of mortgage sector,” Baltimore
Sun
, Dec. 28, 2007 (Businesssection).
 
In May 2008, commenting on the re-assembling of Gov. Ehrlich’s “theme team,” Mr.Fawell stated, “’There’s a lot of pent-up anger about record tax increases, risingelectricity prices,’ Fawell said. ‘ It’s an opportunity for people to talk about themes.’”Laura Vozzella, “They put away the crayons,” Baltimore Sun, May 4, 2008 (Localsection).
 
In December 2008, in response to an announcement that another Republican was forminga gubernatorial exploratory committee, “Ehrlich spokesperson Henry Fawell ‘saidEhrlich’s thinking remains unchanged…. And that [it is] premature to speculate. Fawell,on whether Ehrlich will run: ‘Time and the political landscape.’” The Hotline, Dec. 10,2008 (quoting Reiter, PolitickerMD.com, Dec. 9, 2008).
 
In June 2009, “ex-Ehrlich press. Sec. Henry Fawell, who now works at Ehrlich’sBaltimore-based law firm, ‘said he won’t come to a decision for several months’ onwhether to run. The Hotline, June 8, 2009.
 
In September 2009, in response to a conference call organized by the RepublicanNational Committee in advance of an appearance by the President in Maryland abouthealth care reform, the Speaker of the Maryland House commented on Gov. Ehrlich’srecord on health care. “Ex-Ehrlich aide Henry Fawell ‘provided a rebuttal to Busch…forwarding a seven point list of Ehrlich health care accomplishments…..’” The Hotline,Sept. 18, 2009 (quoting “Maryland Politics,” Washington
Post 
, Sept. 17, 2009).
 
 
33
 
West
 
Street,
 
Suite200
 
|
 
Annapolis,
 
MD
 
21401
 
Baltimore/Annapolis
 
Area
 
(410)
 
269
8818
 
|
 
Washington
 
Area
 
(301)
 
858
8818
 
|
 
Fax
 
(410)
 
280
8882
 
www.mddems.org
 
Paid
 
for
 
by
 
the
 
Maryland
 
Democratic
 
Party,
 
www.mddems.org,
 
and
 
not
 
authorized
 
by
 
any
 
federal
 
candidate
 
or
 
candidate's
 
committee.
 
By
 
authority
 
of 
 
Ngoc
 
Chu,
 
Treasurer.
 
 
In January 2010, following the Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate, “Ehrlichspokesman Henry Fawell said the Massachusetts election means that Maryland’s formergovernor ‘can enthusiastically check one more box off his decision-making process. Allof these little pieces of the puzzle are taken into consideration.’” Julie Bykowicz,Baltimore Sun, Jan. 21, 2010 (Local).
 
Last month, “If Ehrlich runs, ‘it is unlikely he will announce before March,’ spokesmanHenry Fawell said today…..” Commenting on Gov. Ehrlich’s recent travels around thestate, “It’s been extraordinarily helpful and will go a long way towards informing hisdecision,’ Fawell said.” Wilmington
 News Journal
, Feb. 1, 2010 (News section).
 
Earlier this month, reacting to poll on the gubernatorial contest, “Ehrlich spokesmanHenry Fawell downplayed the significance of the O’Malley poll, saying its public release‘is generally something you do when you’re worried…. Our internal polling shows avastly different landscape.’” Maryland Politics Blog, Washington
Post 
, March 5, 2010.
 
Again this month, responding to a talk by an O’Malley campaign official, “Ehrlich’sspokesman, Henry Fawell, responded. . . by saying that Ehrlich is ‘flattered by all theattention’ . . . Fawell said Ehrlich has set no firm date for deciding whether to run, thoughhe continues to make speaking appearances and might decide ‘in a couple of weeks.’”Larry Carson, Baltimore
Sun
, March 12, 2010 (Local).Given that these articles represent only a fraction of the occasions on which Mr. Fawellhas acted as spokesperson for Gov. Ehrlich over the last three years, it is clear that Mr. Fawellhas devoted an extensive amount of time to this role.It does not seem plausible that Mr. Fawell has engaged in his work as spokespersonmerely as a volunteer. Mr. Fawell has performed this work during regular working hours. InJuly 2007, Mr. Fawell admitted that “he was on the Womble clock” when he circulated toreporters a political e-mail attacking the O’Malley administration that immediately appeared on

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