Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Truth behind Judd Legum's Fundraising

Liberal darling/mudslinger/trial lawyer/factually challenged blogger Judd Legum is telling anybody who will listen that he raised over $65,000 for his campaign for the House of Delegates in District 30. It's on his blog. There was a press release. It was tweeted. It's all over the place like he won an award or something.

Of course, what do the numbers actually mean....

For starters, let's take a look at this claim from Legum:

I was extremely pleased with all the early financial support to my campaign. Eighty-five percent of contributions were $100 or less and we didn’t accept a penny from special interest PACs.
Which of course depends on your definition of contribution. When you talk about the actual number of contributors, then yes of Legum's 538 total contributors, 459 of them made donations of $100.00 or less. That was a total amount, however, of $22,644.32. Of Legum's total dollars raised during the 2009 filing period, only barely one-third (34.6 percent) were raised from these "small" donors.

Except that's not really the case either. For example, an Emily Legum of Annapolis made seven different $50 contributions during the period, for an aggregate total of $350. Debbie Berger Fox of Washington, DC made two seperate $100 contributions. David Cho of New York City made 8 seperate contributions that total $220.47 in addition to a contribution of $250. Nancy Coley of Annapolis made three contributions under the $100 "limit" that aggregated $175. JoAnn Escobosa of Arnold made three $50 contributions. And it goes on like this. So while the number of "contributions" of less than $100 is accurate, the aggregated total comes from a smaller pool than Legum's press release would imply.

And speaking of contributions, where did these contributions come from? Glad you asked:
  • Arizona: 3
  • California: 38
  • Colorado: 1
  • District of Columbia: 111
  • Florida: 4
  • Georgia: 4
  • Iowa: 1
  • Illinois: 7
  • Kansas: 1
  • Kentucky: 1
  • Louisiana: 2
  • Maine: 1
  • Maryland: 231
  • Massachusetts: 13
  • Michigan: 1
  • Minnesota: 2
  • Missouri: 2
  • New Jersey: 7
  • New York: 37
  • North Carolina: 1
  • Ohio: 4
  • Oregon: 3
  • Pennsylvania: 16
  • Rhode Island: 1
  • South Carolina: 3
  • Texas: 5
  • Virginia: 26
  • Vermont: 1
  • Washington: 9
  • West Virgnia: 1
  • Wisconsin: 1
So to try and make the point for you here, only 42.9% of Legum's contributors live in the state of Maryland. We're not even talking about his district. We're talking about the state of Maryland.

Which now leads the question of how much of Legum's money comes from Maryland and how much comes from out of state. Glad you asked, because of Legum's total amount raised only $18,908 comes from in state donors. That means that only 28.8 percent of Judd Legum's money has been donated by Marylanders. As a matter of fact a nearly equal amount of Legum's funds were raised from residents of the District of Columbia ($18,610).

And that leaves us with the question of the who is giving money to Judd Legum. Well, the list contains a who's who of federal lobbyists with ties to the Clintion Political Machine. You can corraborate the list here. Some of the "dignitaries" include:"
  • Disgraced former Annapolis Mayoral Nominee Zina Pierre, whose campaign appartus donated $250 to Legum as the scandal around her campaign exploded, and then gave a personal $100 donation in November.
  • Hillary Clinton apparatchik Howard Wolfson maxed out for a $4,000 donation.
  • Bill Clinton flunky John Podesta, the former White House Chief of Staff who was instrumental in the Marc Rich pardon scandal and now spends qualtiy time as a UFO-truther.
  • Patti Solis Doyle, another prominent Clintonista, donated $1,000.
  • Former Director Tom Mattize was another $1,000 donor.
  • Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe donated $1,000 a few months after blowing his chance to be Governor of Virginia. You may also remember Mr. McAuliffefrom his starring role in the Global Crossing scandal.
And our final question leads me to this: why would any out of state resident donate $4,000 to a political hack running for state office. Wjat's in for them. Well, four individuals donated the maximum to Legum's campaign account, accounting for nearly one-quarter of his total amount raised. One of them is Wolfson, but the other three donors have an interesting, albeit out of state connection.

Dr. Rose Thayaparan practices Cytopathology and Anatomic & Clinical Pathologyst St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. Her husband, P.W. Tayaparan, also donated $4,000. He used to work at the META Group, an information technology consulting firm in Stamford, Conn that was purchased by the Gartner Group. The only other $4,000 was their daughter Beatrice Wilderman. Why these three individuals would invest $12,000 in a Maryland race is frankly beyond comprehension at this point.

Judd Legum will tell everybody he knows that he has raised $65,000. But elections such as this one cannot be bought. They certainly cannot be bought by funds rasied from out of state donors with no connection to District 30. Maryland Democrats should be ashamed of thesmelves for allowing a candidate with the ego the size of Legum to become the poster child for their fundraising excesses.....and Legum himself should be ashamed that Sam Arora who was lower on the total pole than Legum managed to outraise him in Montgomery County.

The moral of the story is that Judd Legum is selling himself to the highest bidder, whether or not that bidder is even a resident of Maryland. I hope the people of District 30 truly understand what they are getting if they vote for them this November. They won't be getting a Delegate who is serving them; they will be getting a Delegate beholden to out of state financial interests and the Clinton political machine. That's something the residents of District 30 and the people of Maryland as a whole simply cannot afford...



Bruce said...

While I want to applaud the detail-specific number-crunching, your conclusion that Legum has been "bought" simply does not follow from your facts.

You marshall no evidence as to why the maxed-out donors gave what they gave. What is known is that Legum's early political career involved prominence at a national scale.

Most people his age don't have national political exposure through the likes of his work building and developing Think Progress. So of course the guy is going to have a lot of friends out of state, a few of whom will be loaded and want to donate big and max out on a rising star.

What is Legum selling, in your view? He's bought? - what got bought? Do you think that he, as a freshman delegate, would have some kind of steering power of contracts to these folks? The Clintonista agenda in, what, whatever fisheries committee or whatnot that Mike Miller is going to stick him on if he wins?

Not sold.

Mark Newgent said...


Judd Legum comes out of the Soros-Podesta-Think Progress Democratic machine, and is an extremely dishonest person

Kate said...

I get that you are excited to post but I think that your critique of Judd’s donors is missing something. I am his Colorado donor (a paralegal mind you, not a national power in any sense of the word) and his old friend from college. His big time New York City donor, David Cho, also a college friend. Ditto for several of the Washington state donors. We, Judd’s friends, gave to his campaign because he has been talking about wanting to be a Maryland delegate for as long as we can remember. He let us stay with his family and gave us tours through Annapolis for years. He loves his city, loves his state, and is passionate about making the world a better place. He is what I would want for my own state, an advocate who connects with everyone he meets, who talks about his interests, and who reaches out to a grass roots network of the people who would know best how committed he is to working for a better future. It is a testament to his dedication that we each gave money to a campaign in which we had no personal agenda.

And finally, are you really trying to say that Judd’s mom, Emily Legum, is part of some vast conspiracy to buy power. She is a school teacher and a nice lady. Pick on someone your own size. Literally. Emily is barely 5 feet tall.

Melissa said...

Way to pick on the Thayaparans...some vast left wing conspiracy? Or his in-laws? It's the latter. Check your facts before you start scare-mongering.

I'm one of Judd's Virginia donors and I can tell you why I gave him $500 at the start of his campaign: because he's a dedicated, smart, passionate guy who impressed me beyond measure when we were in law school together. His commitment to the public good surpasses almost anyone I've ever met.

And calling him out as a "trial lawyer" is beyond amusing...practicing law has taken up a small part of his time since graduating from law school, and I doubt highly that you can point to any significant trials he's participated in. Rather, he's spent much of his career in public service. Save the name-calling and stick to the facts.

Vinny said...

While I can appreciate that Judd Legum's friends and family want to see him succeed and therefore would be motivated to give him a donation, he is not running to be their delegate - he is running to be mine. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people do not check their facts (including some in this post as commenters have pointed out) so having a large campaign fund with which to purchase advertising can be used to spread misinformation. It is also used as an early way to show support, create social proof, and influence more voters.

I think we need real campaign reform where only those voting in a given race are allowed to donate to that candidate. That means that only MD District 30 voters should be allowed to donate to Mr. Legum (and Mr. McMillan). Same for federal, local, and other state elections. I am "hiring" these people to represent my opinion, not even their own and much less someone from another state. Allowing contributions from outside a candidate's constituency creates a system where a candidate can be beholden to other interests. Presumably, Mr. Legum would be influenced by his mother whether she contributed to his campaign or not.