Campaign Finance Aggregate Report

Over the next few days, pre primary campaign finance reports will appear on the Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System Websites. Instead of breathlessly hitting refresh, you can simply check out this public, crowd sourced google doc I put together (just like I did in January and April).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OyeuTrFuRlp_4qtqRPw9JSKcW29e6Z-yVjmRXcyWWyM/edit#gid=0

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AFL-CIO and Gazette Endorse in MoCo At-Large Council Race

In the at-large race for Montgomery County Council, the Gazette has endorsed newcomer Beth Daly along with incumbents Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, and George Leventhal, leaving incumbent Hans Riemer and challenger Vivian Malloy out in the cold.

The Maryland AFL-CIO has endorsed both challengers, Beth Daly and Vivian Malloy. Marc Elrich was the only endorsed incumbent and the AFL-CIO did not endorse for the fourth seat. They AFL declined to endorse in the contested Sheriff’s race.

Bad day for Hans Riemer who received neither endorsement. Great day for Beth Daly and Marc Elrich won gained both of them.

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Duchy Trachtenberg, Joe Trippi and DFA

Democracy for America (DFA), a PAC founded by Howard Dean to advance progressive causes, has sent out an email attacking Roger Berliner and trying to raise funds for Duchy Trachtenberg. The email is reproduced at the end of this post.

So why did DFA send out the email?

Though DFA endorses at virtually all levels of office, it has not endorsed Duchy Trachtenberg as of May 20th based on my search of their online list of endorsed candidates. Indeed, they have endorsed no one in the State of Maryland.

The answer could be Joe Trippi. Duchy hired Trippi as her consultant according to her January campaign finance report:

DuchyFinance

Duchy January 2014 Campaign Finance Filing

Trippi received national attention for his success as Campaign Manager at catapulting Howard Dean to the front of the Democratic pack for awhile in 2004. That campaign was the first to grasp the importance of social media. DFA started out as Dean for America and pioneered attracting small donors via social media.

The email was funded by DFA as an independent expenditure rather than by Duchy’s campaign. So it would be illegal for Trippi to contact DFA to ask them to spend money on Duchy’s behalf. Since he works for Duchy, coordination between Trippi and DFA would turn this legally from an independent expenditure into a contribution that should appear under Duchy’s own authority line. But if Trippi didn’t contact DFA and get them to do this for Duchy, who did?

Inaccurate, Bizarre Attack

The attack on Roger in the email for promoting development at Ten Mile Creek is particularly strange as Roger helped protect it. Moreover, Duchy has received strong support from the developer who is angry with Roger over his efforts.

Ironically, the email starts to wrap up with “When politicians focus on their own political gains and corporate interests, everyone else suffers.”

Indeed.

 

Democracy for American Email:

We don’t need to tell you: Roger Berliner is bad news. He’s consistently undermined the needs of working families in Montgomery County, despite the fact that he calls himself a Democrat. How’s that for a betrayal?

Berliner has voted to strip bargaining rights from county employees, to remove indexing from any minimum wage bills, and to approve a construction project right by Ten Mile Creek. After hearing Ten Mile Creek — one of the last clean creeks in the area — would be polluted by storm runoff from his construction project, a progressive voice pushed back.

Duchy Trachtenberg won’t stand for this failed leadership and that’s why she’s running for Mongtomery County Council in District 1.

Montgomery County needs a bold progressive leader. Click here to help elect Duchy Trachtenberg to office!

As a former at-large councilmember and a longtime resident of Montgomery County, Duchy understands the needs and priorities of its residents. As a councilmember, she oversaw the creation of the Family Justice Center, which brings coordinated and effective services to domestic violence victims. She passed a landmark civil rights measure extending protection in employment and housing for transgender persons, and worked to protect pay equity for women.

Her background in grassroots organizing for women’s equity, mental health concerns and public health issues shows her ability to put people-powered policies first. Going forward, Duchy will fight for public employees’ job security and collective bargaining rights, affordable housing for families, and fully funded youth service programs.

Sign up to help Duchy Trachtenberg ensure that progressive voices are heard in Rockville!

When politicians focus on their own political gains and corporate interests, everyone else suffers. Let’s make sure that instead, we have forward-looking, compassionate leadership.

Thank you for all that you do,

– Franco

Franco Caliz, Electoral Campaigns Manager
Democracy for America

Paid for by Democracy for America, http://www.democracyforamerica.com/?t=3&akid=4786.2643726.fr7nXK and not authorized by any candidate. Contributions to Democracy for America are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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Updated Senate Majority Leader Short List

I’ve gotten a lot of interesting feedback on my post about who  might be the next Majority Leader of the State State. Several things have been made clear to me by our very impassioned readers:

The first is that Paul Pinsky is not on Mike Miller’s short list, long list or any other list for this position. Considering what a progressive, reform minded individual he is, I doubt this bothers him very much.

The second is that Rich Madaleno and Catherine Pugh are the clear front runners in the estimation of pretty much everybody. The smart money appears to be on Pugh, but the broad conventional wisdom leans towards Madaleno.

Both would be history making in their own way. As far as I can tell, Catherine Pugh would be the first female Majority Leader, and the first African American to serve in this role since Clarence Blount. Madaleno would be the first LGBT Individual to serve in the role.

Third,  If he is passed over the Chairmanship of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Jamie Raskin may find himself pressing for the Majority Leader post.

Fourth, Roger Manno, Nancy King and Bobby Zirkin may each have an outside shot but they probably aren’t near the top of this list.

Fifth, several legislators facing reelections with varying degrees of competitiveness may have a bank shot at the Majority Leader post – specifically Ron Young, Lisa Gladden and Doug Peters . . . if they survive campaign season.

So, I’ve updated my list and split it into a “long” and “short” version.

Short

  • Rich Madaleno (Montgomery County)
  • Catherine Pugh (Baltimore City)

Long 

  • Roger Manno (Montgomery County)
  • Nancy King (Montgomery County)
  • Lisa Gladden (Baltimore City)
  • Ron Young (Frederick County)
  • Doug Peters (Prince George’s County)
  • Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County)
  • Jamie Raskin (Montgomery County)

However, the most important factor in choosing the Majority Leader may well be who helps their colleagues with their campaigns. While not as high minded as the ability to eloquently defend the Democrats on the floor of the Senate, colleagues and the leadership really appreciate it. The reality is that campaigns cost money.

This handicaps Rich Madaleno who has historically shown little interest in fundraising. He also has a competitive primary where he needs to focus his resources until June 24th.

Lisa Gladden and Doug Peters both have historically been good fundraisers, but both have drawn opponents of substance in the primary to keep them busy. However, if they are victorious, they could certainly start laying the statewide ground work necessary to set themselves up as contenders to be Majority Leader.

Raskin doesn’t like to give campaign dollars that he raises to other campaigns and causes, though he is often generous with his own funds. That scruple undermines his ability to aid colleagues.

Ron Young will need to focus exclusively on his swingy Western Maryland District until November.

Zirkin, Manno and Pugh have the luxury to not have to fight in their home districts. Instead of catching up on Game of Thrones they should replicate the formidable efforts of Rob Garagiola during the 2010 election cycle. Rob spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting for leadership priorities around the state and was rewarded.

Am I still nuts? Missing a name? Let me know by dropping me a line directly at johnga.ems@gmail.com.

UPDATE: Pugh wouldn’t be the first female Majority Leader. That distinction is held by Rosalie Abrams. And the last African-American Majority Leader was McFadden in 2003-07. h/t Brian Bailey.

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WaPo Picks Up the Story

WaPo Logo

I’m naturally pleased that the Washington Post picked up the story on the controversy over Aisha Braveboy and her lack of support for LGBT rights in the General Assembly, including a lengthy quote from the post on this blog.

At the same time, it’s frustrating that they linked to Del. Braveboy’s defense of her position and missed the actual controversy. Specifically, Del. Braveboy’s story over her change of heart is not credible because the incident that she describes as the “defining moment” in her “evolution” occurred 11 months after the marriage equality referendum in which she claims to have voted yes.

Moreover, now Del. Braveboy is claiming that she really supported marriage equality but just not this bill:

“I look at nearly every bill and I make judgments based on the policy and they way the bill was drafted and written,” Braveboy said Tuesday. “While I may have supported the concept, I didn’t support the bill.”

Odd since she was viewed as a leader of opponents in the House of Delegates and certainly had no interest in passing a pro-marriage bill, or even milder pro-LGBT legislation in earlier sessions. If she “supported the concept,” she hid it well.

So while I am grateful to the Washington Post for giving the issue more coverage, it feels like a swing and a miss.

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UPDATE on Leventhal Post

Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal gave me a call because he wanted to set the record straight on two things regarding my earlier post today. They’re not about the video of the budget hearing at the top of the post but two other issues mentioned in the final paragraph.

SEIU Endorsement Interview

George says it’s categorically untrue that he was asked to leave his interview with SEIU. In his view, all of the endorsement conversations with the unions were tough but this just didn’t happen. Based on additional information, I have little reason to doubt George’s word. Even Lou Peck’s highly negative reportage does not say George was ejected.

CASA Criticism

Additionally, George also says he was being very careful not to criticize CASA during the budget hearings and that also didn’t happen. The hearing mentioned here occurred on April 10th in advance of CASA’s endorsement . Rather than debate or assess its contents, I thought I’d post it here so anyone reading can make their own judgement. It was a hearing for the Health and Human Services Committee on the FY15 Operating Budget held on April 10th.

Source: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/OnDemand/index.html and click on committee worksessions and then click on “video” for the one of HHS on April 10th starting around 1:08.

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MoCo At-Large County Council Forum

Incumbents
Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Hans Reimer (Democrats)

Challengers
Beth Daly and Vivian Malloy (Democrats) Robert Dyer (Republican) Tim Willard (Green Party)

Wednesday, May 21, 7 p.m.

4-H Center
7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase

Cosponsors: Chevy Chase View, Chevy Chase Village, Chevy Chase West, Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights, Edgemoor Citizens Association, Garrett Park, Rollingwood Citizens Association, Town of Chevy Chase, Town of Somerset, Village of Chevy Chase Section 3, Village of Chevy Chase Section 5, Village of Martin’s Additions, Village of North Chevy Chase

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Leventhal Loses It

Watch. My thoughts below.

The Washington Post is highlighting George Leventhal’s loss of temper on May 6th when he hectored Office of Management and Budget Director Jennifer Hughes from the dais at a Montgomery County Council hearing.

Frustratingly, the Post doesn’t say what it is about–the County’s outdated and unsupported computer system–but it almost doesn’t matter. The optics are terrible. In the clip, George loses control as he disrespectfully berates the Budget Director. At one point, he says he doesn’t like her “body language.”

While undoubtedly not giving the answers he wants to hear, the Director testified professionally. No one will like how George looks here but my guess is women will hate it. Viscerally.

As I mentioned in my write-up on the at-large Council race, George “is perceived as quick to anger and express disdain.” Apparently, he is still teed off at CASA and criticized them during a budget hearing. George was asked to leave his candidate endorsement interview with SEIU because he was being belligerent.

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Aisha Braveboy-PPMW Controversy Part III

Aisha Braveboy had such an profound change of heart on marriage equality that it affected her vote before it happened.


Part I publicized Del. Braveboy’s response
to the questions raised about Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington (PPMW) Action Fund’s 100% rating in light of their question on marriage quality and Del. Braveboy’s past staunch opposition. Similarly, Part II posted PPMW’s press release.

Today, I explain why both responses are problematic.

Memory Lane

As PPMW outlined in their response, Del. Braveboy has a long history of opposition to not just marriage equality legislation but many other earlier efforts to advance LGBT equality.

In 2008, she so strongly opposed even basic LGBT rights that she even voted against hospital visitation and decision making rights for domestic partners. Del. Braveboy also voted against exemption from the property transfer tax for domestic partners in 2008. She voted against inheritance tax exemption for domestic partners in 2009.

And of course, Del. Braveboy voted against marriage equality in 2012, capping a long established record of consistent and emphatic opposition to equality for LGBT Marylanders.

Evolved or Expedient?

Del. Braveboy describes her views as having “evolved” like those of President Obama. Except that President Obama had a history of support for other LGBT rights besides marriage. He further had a public record of advocacy for treating LGBT individuals with basic dignity–not implacable opposition to LGBT rights and an array of negative public statements.

Moreover, President Obama “evolved” in advance of the 2012 referendum on the Maryland marriage equality legislation and his own reelection. In contrast, Del. Braveboy’s public change of heart occurred only after the referendum at a politically convenient moment for her attorney general bid. Sounds more like a Damascene conversion than evolution.

Additionally, Del. Braveboy explained her opposition to marriage equality in terms of her consistently expressed belief that it should be left up to the voters. An odd position for a candidate running for attorney general with the tagline of “Justice for All Marylanders” to suggest putting rights up for a vote.

And her story doesn’t add up. Del. Braveboy says that she changed her mind in advance of the referendum and cast her vote for marriage equality. She ascribes her change of heart to her experience during her pro bono representation of “a same-sex couple in a case where a cooperative housing association attempted to force one of the partners out of their family home and refused to recognize their familial relationship.”

Except that a search of the Maryland Judicial Database reveals that the case, Village Green v. Carroll, cited by Del. Braveboy as a “defining moment” in her evolution on the issue, was filed in October 2013–well after the 2012 referendum:

BraveboyCase

Aisha Braveboy had such an profound change of heart on marriage equality that it affected her vote before it happened.

Planned Parenthood’s Response

PPMW deserves kudos for including the marriage equality question on their questionnaire and, more importantly, their steadfast support for LGBT rights. Additionally, their statement is at pains to indicate that Del. Braveboy’s opponent, Sen. Brian Frosh, has a far superior record on this issue.

And I agree with their view that we should welcome politicians who evolve toward more favorable positions. Nonetheless, since all of the Democratic candidates for AG are legislators in the General Assembly, asking a question based on how they voted on Question 6 in the privacy of the voting booth was a mistake.

The votes cast in the legislature were of far greater moment and also verifiable. That’s why virtually all interest groups develop legislative ratings based on roll-call votes. In this case, there is also no evidence of public support before the election when it might have helped in the fight to win the vote. Interest groups should care far more about actions than private thoughts.

Two Thought Experiments

Would Del. Braveboy–who consistently opposed LGBT rights and argued that it should be up to the voters–now be presenting herself as a supporter of LGBT rights or saying that we need to respect the will of the voters if the vote on Question 6 had gone the other way?

How would PPMW rate a candidate who had always opposed abortion rights but in a questionnaire just before the election said that she had a change of heart on the issue?

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Aisha Braveboy-PPMW Controversy, Part II

PPMW LogoPart I of this series presented Attorney General Candidate Aisha Braveboy’s response to the controversy over Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington (PPMW) Action Fund puzzling 100% rating. The questionnaire asked a question about support for marriage equality legislation–opposed by Del. Braveboy in the General Assembly.

While the Part III analyzes the problematic response by Del. Braveboy and PPMW, this part publishes PPMW’s statement on the matter:

PPMWAF Public Statement on Delegate Aisha Braveboy’s Candidate Questionnaire

Washington, D.C. – The Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC Action Fund (PPMWAF) would like to take the opportunity to address the discussion around Delegate Aisha Braveboy’s questionnaire and 100% score, which was posted on www.ppmwaf.com. We received Del. Aisha Braveboy’s questionnaire, noted that it included a “Yes” response for all questions asked, and accordingly, scored the questionnaire at 100%. After the score was posted, PPMWAF was made aware that there appeared to be some inconsistency between Del. Braveboy’s “Yes” answer for Question 8b, and her previous votes and statements regarding same-sex marriage in Maryland. Specifically, Del. Braveboy cast some older votes in 2008-2009 against LGBT domestic partner rights, trans* rights and marriage equality, sponsored and voted for an amendment in 2011 prohibiting same-sex marriage legislation (SB 116) from taking effect unless a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage failed at the ballot box in the 2012 general election, and voted against the 2012 same-sex marriage legislation (HB 438) that ultimately became law after it triumphed at the ballot box as Question 6.

Our questionnaire’s Question 8b asked, “Did you vote or would you have voted yes on Question 6, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland in 2012?” The question confined its analysis to Question 6, and intended to get at a candidate’s support for same-sex marriage. PPMWAF asked Del. Braveboy to add some context and explanation to her Yes answer, and here is the explanation she provided:

[see Del. Braveboy’s response in previous post]

Braveboy also answered “Yes” to Question 8c, in support of trans* rights, and she voted for the relevant legislation, SB 212, this year, as well as for HB 235 in 2011.

Del. Braveboy’s opponent, Brian Frosh, also got a 100% score, marking “Yes” for Questions 8b and 8c. Further, he has demonstrated a firm commitment to LGBT rights, including support for domestic partner hospital visitation rights in 2008. In 2011, he voted for marriage equality legislation (SB 116) and again in 2012 for the legislation that ultimately became law (HB 438). He also cast two supportive votes in 2011 for gender identity discrimination legislation (HB 235), and cosponsored SB 212 this year and helped lead the charge to pass the bill. Frosh has been endorsed by Equality Maryland this year, who lauded his commitment to LGBT issues and noted that “he worked with Senate leaders and advocates to shepherd the bill through the Senate,” and that “his leadership was instrumental in achieving the 8-3 vote for the bill in the Judicial Proceedings Committee which he chairs.”

PPMWAF has a deep commitment to civil rights and reproductive justice, and included in that is our commitment to LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and trans* equality and non-discrimination. That is precisely why we chose to include this question in our questionnaire, because we believe that all of our patients, including those who identify as LGBT or Queer, must be free from discrimination and have equal rights in order to be able to best make their reproductive health decisions. PPMWAF opposes any vote that leaves an integral civil rights decision in the hands of voters. PPMWAF also welcomes a legislator’s evolution in views, and applauds when, after previously expressing ambivalence or opposition on an important issue, a legislator comes to share our values. However, we at PPMWAF hold in highest esteem when a legislator has long-held and steadfast progressive beliefs and values, and demonstrates them in action by leading the charge on progressive legislation.

Here is a PDF copy of the press statement: 5-15 MD Braveboy questionnaire press statement

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