By Adam Pagnucco.
As we have previously written, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) has launched a TV and mail campaign promoting Governor Larry Hogan and attacking Democratic nominee Ben Jealous. RGA is a 527, not a PAC or a federal political committee regulated by the FEC, and since the Citizens United decision it is free to advocate for and against candidates. However, in Maryland, it is registered as an Independent Expenditure (IE) Committee and must disclose its contributions and expenditures.
Below are the 21 entities (17 organizations and 4 individuals) who have contributed to RGA’s Maryland IE account. They have combined to contribute $1,037,500 to the campaign. All but one (Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery) are from out of state.
The four healthcare and pharmaceutical companies contributed $300,000, which is interesting considering that Jealous is known for advocating single payer healthcare. Indeed, one of RGA’s TV ads slams Jealous’s healthcare proposal over its alleged cost. The $100,000 contribution by student testing firm Data Recognition Corporation is also noteworthy. Is it seeking contracts in Maryland?
One more item from the IE filings stands out: the vendors collecting its money are all based out of state. Are there no consultants based in Maryland who are capable of doing political work? So far, the IE has spent $1,648,663 on TV, online ads, mail and consulting fees. Compare that to the $2.9 million raised by Jealous’s campaign for the entire cycle.
RGA’s last IE report was dated July 11. If the campaign continues, there will be more reports. Who knows how much they will spend by the time they are done?