Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Last Gaffe

We at Red Maryland have been documenting the problems with the Charles Lollar campaign pretty much from the get go. We've talked about staffing, and busses, and multiple positions, and lawsuits, and the like. Lollar's inability to run a credible campaign has fed directly into his inability to raise money, thus perpetuating his inability to run a credible campaign. It's a vicious cycle, albeit one that will end on primary election night.

However, nothing better sums up the ineptitude of the Lollar campaign than the reaction by his campaign to the D- rating he received from the NRA. While both Lollar and his running mate Ken Timmerman had received positive ratings from the NRA before, his campaign received the horrible grade, in no small part due to the survey his campaign received and the language listed on the campaign website regarding his support for firearms databases.

The reaction to the grade was typical from Lollar supporters, some even going as far as to suggest that there was an NRA conspiracy to give Charles a bad grade. Seriously. However it took until today for the Lollar campaign to put out a statement, not from Lollar mind you but from campaign manager Bob Carlstrom. And boy it was a doozy.

We were shocked when we were told by supporters last week that the National Rifle Association had given our campaign a failing grade.  
Both Charles Lollar and Ken Timmerman have been out in front of the battle in defense of our 2nd Amendment rights, which have been under siege from many Maryland legislators and state executives for many years. Both Charles and Ken have appeared at numerous pro-2nd Amendment rallies. We have posted videos of some of those appearances on our website.  
Both are members of the NRA. And both received “A” ratings from the NRA during their Congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012. (Timmerman's is here. Lollar's is here.]
In our eagerness to set the record straight on our positions, we recalled that there were questionnaires on gun rights we had received and returned months ago, and in which we reaffirmed our commitment to the 2nd Amendment as the guarantor of our freedoms.  However, an internal investigation, which we have conducted with help from the NRA, has led us to conclude that the NRA survey was indeed not one of those. (We were mistaken to attribute one of those done “months ago” to the NRA.) 
For its part, the NRA issued its grade based on a survey that was submitted in the name of our campaign and which blatantly misrepresented our positions. While we would have preferred that the NRA had consulted with the campaign before issuing its grade inasmuch as the positions on that survey so obviously conflicted with previous surveys Charles and Ken had submitted to the NRA during their respective congressional campaigns,  and their public positions, we understand that time constraints did not allow them to do so.  
We believe that a former campaign staffer completed the NRA survey, without the knowledge of the candidates or me, and sent it in to the NRA. We do not know whether or not this was done maliciously.  
Supporters have also drawn attention to several paragraphs at the bottom of our statement on Gun Rights on our website that might appear ambiguous. These were drafted many months ago by a staffer who is no longer with the campaign. Today we are posting a revised version of this page to erase any ambiguity as to where we stand. 
“The NRA is an important organization that represents millions of Americans, whose support for our 2nd Amendment protections has been instrumental in beating back repeated assaults on our constitutional freedoms,” said Charles Lollar. 
“As your Governor, I look forward to working with the NRA and other pro-2nd Amendment groups to repeal SB 281 and other onerous legislation that has unconstitutionally – in my view – infringed upon our right to keep and bear arms.”

Yup, that was the statement verbatim. Mind you, it completely contradicts what Ken Timmerman said last week.

It also completely contradicts Carlstrom's statement of a week ago, which blamed the NRA for the foul up, saying that the NRA had not received the survey in the first place.

So to sum up Carlstrom's statement:

  • The Lollar campaign, which had previously claimed not to have submitted a survey, did.
  • The Lollar campaign position on guns, which had been on their website for months, was actually wrong.
  • The person in the Lollar campaign who was responsible both for the submission of the survey and the position described on the website, is no longer with the campaign.
  • Neither Lollar, Timmerman, nor anybody currently associated with the campaign will take any responsibility for the mistake.
So, if you are keeping track at home of all of the mistakes that the Lollar campaign has made;
But most importantly is that through it all, Charles Lollar refused to take any responsibility for the mistakes that his campaign has made. Lollar has basically been running for Governor for five years, ever since he was going to run for Governor in 2010 and he discovered that he was not eligible to run. Even then, Lollar refused to take responsibiltiy for being disqualified. Since then, his campaign has been one gaffe followed by another gaffe, with each time Lollar eithe failing to take responsibility for the gaffe or refusing to take corrective action. With each sitauation, Lollar has demonstrated he lacks the leadership skills to be Governor of Maryland. If his campaign makes these kind of mistakes, who would trust him with the Governor's Office.

We've spent a lot of time documenting Lollar's campaign and its mistakes. But the NRA grade fiasco is going to be the last gaffe for the Lollar campaign.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio: 5/29/2014

It was another big episode of  Red Maryland Radio comes at you tonight  live at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

More Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio

On tonight's show:
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio Tonight

Another big episode of  Red Maryland Radio comes at you tonight  live at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

On tonight's show:
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Campaign Finance Transactions Raise Ethical Concerns about Senator David Brinkley

       As the District 4 State Senate race heats up, the campaign of Senator David Brinkley has raised a claim that his opponent violated ethical rules by sending a letter wishing someone a "Happy Birthday". According to the Frederick News-Post, Senator Brinkley had a supporter file an ethics claim regarding the matter.

        Having opened the door to the examination of the candidates' ethical behavior in office and the proper use of public funds, Senator Brinkley has invited an examination of his own conduct.

        So here is an example of Senator Brinkley's conduct that many would find far more distasteful than sending a "Happy Birthday" letter.

        As detailed below, Senator Brinkley used funds from his campaign account to provide a bonus to a staffer, Jacqueline L. Nigh with whom sources indicate he was having an extramarital affair. On the same day, this bonus was then invested by Brinkley with his investment firm on behalf of Ms. Nigh. Senator Brinkley processed this transaction through his firm and, according to sources, made a commission on the investment of what had been campaign funds.

Here are the detailed facts:

       On December 21, 2007, Senator Brinkley used funds from his campaign account (Friends of David Brinkley) to pay Jacqueline L. Nigh $4,000.  A copy of the expenditure report from the Maryland State Board of Elections is attached below.  A copy of the Annual Employer Withholding Reconciliation Return regarding payments to Ms. Nigh from the Friends of David Brinkley is attached below.  A copy of the 2007 W-2 issued to Ms. Nigh from the Friends of David Brinkley is attached below. A copy of the 2007 Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return identifying Ms. Nigh is attached below.

  On December 21, 2007, the same date as the payment from campaign funds to Ms. Nigh, Ms. Nigh wrote a check to Pacific Life Insurance Company in the amount of $4,000.  A copy of this check is attached below. Ms. Nigh issued this check to make an investment in certain securities as a part of an account identified as “ROTH IRA”.  A copy of these transaction documents are attached below.

Senator Brinkley served as the “producer” on this investment transaction and, upon information and belief, received a commission for this transaction.  According to sources, Senator Brinkley was having an extramarital affair with Ms. Nigh during this same time period.

This transaction appears to represent the conversion of campaign funds for the benefit of Senator Brinkley and Ms. Nigh. Md. Ann. Code, State Government Art., § 15-506(a) states as follows:

      § 15-506. Use of prestige of office 

   (a) In general. -- An official or employee may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public position for that official's or employee's private gain or that of another.

     This transaction would appear to be a clear violation of Md. Ann. Code, State Government Art., § 15-506(a) as Senator Brinkley intentionally used the prestige of his office and public position for his private gain and for the gain of Ms. Nigh. This conduct is particularly sordid given Ms. Nigh's purported extra-marital relationship with Senator Brinkley.

      This kind of behavior is far more concerning than sending anyone, a constituent or not, a "Happy Birthday" note, even on taxpayer paid letterhead. If Senator Brinkley wants to raise the issues of ethical and moral behavior of the candidates in this race he will suffer in the comparison.

Below are the documents referred to above:

More below the fold.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Settling Scores

In recent weeks,  the campaign and supproters of State Senator David Brinkley have been hanging their hat on the fact that Senator Brinkley scored higher on the Maryland Business for Responsive Government Roll Call (MBRG) scorecard than his primary opponent Delegate Michael Hough. MBRG (who has been a sponsor of RMN programming in the past) gave Brinkley a 92, while giving Red Maryland endorsed challenger Hough an 83.

While we often agree with how MBRG sees things, they aren't always the best arbiter of who is or is not conservative, and this race shows that point. The biggest diference between Hough and Brinkley on the MBRG scorecard is their vote on HB 867, the False Claims Act. This is an obscure bill that most voters in District 4 had probably never heard of, but by this point you have seen references all over Brinkley's campaign literature and from Brinkley's supporters on social media about how Brinkley opposed the False Claims Act and Hough supported it.  The MBRG descirbes the False Claims Act in this way:

Authorizes the state to impose treble damages, and fines up to $10,000 per violation, and costs, against businesses that seek false or fraudulent payment or approval from the State, a county, or Baltimore City (a “governmental entity”).
This issue has become contentious in Distirct 4, and Delegate Hough has had to defend himself from bizarre accusations that he has sided with trial lawyers for supporting this law. Brinkley and his supporters have been attacking Mike Hough for supporting a law that punishes people who try to get payments from the government in a fraudulent manner. I have absolutely no idea on what planet it is a conservative ideal to oppose harsher penalties for people who wish to defraud the people out of taxpayer funds. As Hough notes:
“I am proud to stand with President Ronald Reagan and taxpayers in support of this important reform.... 
Recently, taxpayers were defrauded by a number of private contractors who wasted millions on a barely functioning Obamacare website..... 
Maryland taxpayers were ripped off by these companies and we lost hundreds of millions of dollars. I believe the state should be able to sue to recover those funds. Senator David Brinkley on the other hand voted to spend over $200 million on Obamacare and then beats his chest that he defeated a bill that would have helped taxpayers get their money back.
Emphasis mine.

I can understand why Brinkley's campaign would latch on to this scorecard and this discussion of the False Claim Act. It is one of the few metrics out there that would classify Brinkley as a legislator who is as or more conservative than Hough. A much better indicator of the conservativeness of their records would be the Monoblogue Accountability Project (MAP) scorecard. While we here at RM may not always see eye-to-eye with Michael Swartz, his scorecard is a much better barometer of supporting issues that matter to conservative grassroots volunteers and voters than the MBRG scorecard.

And on the MAP scorecard it isn't even close: Delegate Hough scores an 84 with Senator Brinkley scoring a 56. While Delegate Hough only lost points for opposing marijuana decriminalization and voting for a law regarding littering, Senator Brinkley lost points for voting the wrong way on issues that actually matter to conservative voters, such as:

  • Voting for The Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014;
  • Voting for the Baltimore City Needle Exchange Program;
  • Voting for the Energy-Efficient Homes Construction Loan Program;
  • Voting to raise the penalty for Water Pollution Controls;
  • Voting to allow Easements on Agricultural Land for Renewable Energy Generation;
  • Voting to create a PARCC Implementation Workgroup;
  • Voting for the bill to bring Maryland in compliance with Obamacare;
  • Voting for the Bridge Bill to cover those impacted by the failure of Maryland's Health Care exchange;
  • Voting for the Governor's Budget (again....);
  • Voting for the Capital Budget (again.....);
  • Voting for the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (again....).
So while Senator Brinkley and his supporters are touting his opposition to a bill that would help make it more difficult for individuals and companies to fraudulently receive taxpayer dollars, they are suspisciously silent about Senator Brinkley's more important votes to raise taxes, increase spending, expand government control over local public schools, and to provide free state-funded needles for drug users.

Brinkley's campaign and his supporters may be using the False Claims Act to try to define Brinkley as more conservative than Mike Hough. It's funny that when you take a look at the facts and compare the voting records of the two men, you realize that the Brinkley campaign is making a False Claim of their own.

More below the fold.

Dan Bongino Responds to the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board

The following is a response to an editorial in the Baltimore Sun by Dan Bongino.  Red Maryland has endorsed Dan Bongino for U.S. House of Representatives. 

The Baltimore Sun editorial “Weakened Tea,” May 21, helps everyone understand why dinosaur media outlets that refuse to change are circling the drain toward oblivion. In the view of some, every political issue fits into file folders – Fox News Channel or MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times the Tea Party or Establishment, Republican or Democrat, Red or Blue.

The Baltimore Sun derides me for filling in as a guest host on Conservative talk radio. Yet, it is not Conservative talk radio or Fox News that declared bankruptcy or sees its audience decline year after year. That is the Baltimore Sun and its parent company. The print press and its stubborn adherence to left-wing orthodoxy is assisting the rise of talk radio, online media and the Fox News Channel because informed voters now understand what they’ve been missing since print reporting peaked in the early 70’s during Watergate. 

Then of course there are the “Fox News” issues that apparently matter to only to those who run the top-rated news outlet in the country and perhaps a few others in western Maryland or the Eastern Shore. The Fox News Channel has ratings that are higher than CNN and MSNBC combined. They enjoy high ratings because nowhere else is government authority or incompetence questioned on the issues of our time ranging from the IRS targeting of Conservative groups to the terror attacks in Benghazi.

The editorial voice of the Baltimore Sun should be more than distorted carnival mirrors reflecting their already slanted news coverage. Why does the Baltimore Sun editorial on the Dept. of Veterans Affairs say the scandal should not be “treated as a problem unique to the current administration?” Who is accountable for this mess if not the two-term commander-in-chief? Where is the Baltimore Sun editorial on the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote this week defining curbs on the National Security Agency’s mass-data collection? The NSA is 20 minutes away from the Baltimore Sun’s headquarters.

Instead the Sun gives Marylanders a “lesson” about a Senate race in Kentucky. It is interesting that liberals are always giving lessons about free health care, common core and climate change. Missing in this expensive tutelage are policies that actually work for the vast majority of people they are supposed to help. We can do without additional lessons about Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and how that somehow affects Marylanders.

Maryland is not a distant blue planet removed from Earth as the Sun would have its readers believe. The voters I talk to care very deeply about where this country is headed – the debt, Obamacare, underemployment, unemployment and preserving personal freedoms and liberties. Presumably, the Baltimore Sun feels that we should all just give up and follow one-party orthodoxy or the so-called “establishment.”

Of course, that’s why the newspaper cannot resist mentioning the 2012 U.S. Senate race against Ben Cardin, the ultimate establishment figure in Maryland politics. That is part of the lesson. Challengers should not take on powerful Democrat incumbents who have held political positions since the 1960’s, according to the Sun. Here is a lesson for Baltimore Sun editorial writers: it is not the critic who counts. It is the person who gets in the arena and is not afraid of unchecked monopoly power. In that Senate race, I was outspent 14 to 1, yet garnered more total votes than the last GOP Senate nominee in 2010.

Thank you Baltimore Sun for creating an analog political labeling system for file cabinets, but we live in an era of smart phones and cloud computing. The Sun’s slogan “light for all” does not mean “distorted light for Marylanders who are different than everyone else.”

Please live up to your ideals.

Dan Bongino is a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland's sixth district. 

More below the fold.

Warren Miller for House of Delegates

Here’s what we wrote about Del. Warren Miller in his last campaign for House of Delegates:

He goes to Annapolis not only to kill bad bills, but push for good legislation as well…Whether it is protecting small business from the ravages of burdensome regulation or dragging state government into the light of transparency Warren Miller is the kind of man we need in Annapolis.

That has not changed. 

You always know where Warren Miller stands: a steward and advocate for the proper use of taxpayer money, and a sentinel for transparency and good government.

Miller was lead sponsor of the bill that gave us the Maryland Funding Accountability and Transparency a crucial transparency tool for tracking state spending.

His goals do not end at shedding light on waste, fraud, and abuse, in state government, but on holding those who commit them accountable and fixing the problem.  During the 2014 legislative session Miller sponsored a bill that would create an independent office of the Inspector General to inspect state agency performance, and identify and correct the incompetence, inefficiencies, and waste that cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Last, and certainly not least, Warren Miller is a reliable and dependable vote against increased spending and tax hikes. 

Red Maryland endorses Warren Miller for Maryland House of Delegates District 9A.  Contribute to Warren’s campaign here.

More below the fold.

Carol Loveless for House of Delegates

Legislative redistricting split District 9A (Howard County) in two, giving us a new House district (9B), encompassing large swaths of Ellicott City.  Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination for House of Delegates in 9B, business owner Carol Loveless, and former delegate and Secretary of Transportation Bob Flanagan.  

Carol is a small business owner, who understands all to well the job-killing, harsh climate business climate created by the Democratic machine. 

Faced with an enormous unemployment insurance tax bill—because the Democrats had just increased the tax—Carol, who owns a local security firm, had to lay off an employee to keep her small business afloat.  Her first thought was “How many people just lost their jobs because of this?” 

A legislator with just this type of private sector experience, someone who knows how bad policy kills jobs and hurts small business, is exactly what we need more of in Annapolis. 

Carol stands for cutting spending, reducing taxes across the board, not picking winners and losers through subsidizing politically favored industries with our tax dollars, and she is four square against pork barrel bond bills.

Bob Flanagan, is a good man, but he has had his turn and as Secretary of Transportation he presided over $200 million in Transportation Trust Fund raids, $169 million in increased MVA fees, and a agency budget that grew 16 percent.

We love jobs and less taxes, which is why, Red Maryland endorses Carol Loveless for Maryland House of Delegates 9B!

Contribute to Carol’s campaign here.

More below the fold.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Court Documents: O'Malley Admin Admits 2013 Gun Law About Politics Not Policy

An O’Malley administration official admitted that the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (SB 281) was not about policy but politics, according to testimony by a retired Maryland State Police commander.

The sweeping gun control law, championed by Governor Martin O’Malley, requires firearms purchasers to be fingerprinted, bans so called “assault weapons,” limits magazines to clips that hold less than 10 rounds, and restricts purchases by the mentally ill.

In a signed affidavit by Captain, Jack McCauley, submitted on behalf of the plaintiffs in Kolbe V. O’Malley, which seeks to overturn the law, the retired MSP officer stated that Shanetta Paskel, Deputy Legislative Officer for Governor O’Malley ordered him not to answer a question posed to him by legislators, telling him the law was “not about policy; it is just votes.”  McCauley was the former commander of Licensing Division, which oversees background checks for firearms.

McCauley testified that on March 28, 2013 he appeared before a hearing of the Maryland House Judiciary Committee to answer questions members of the committee had about law, then known as SB 281.

 Delegate Mike Smigiel, asked McCauley if the ban on certain firearms and detachable magazines would have an effect on crime.  According to McCauley, Paskel stopped him and ordered him not to answer Smigiel’s question.

McCauley stated,
 Shocked that I would not be allowed to respond to a question asked by a member of the General Assembly, especially after being designated for the ostensible purpose of answering those questions at the meeting, I requested an immediate clarification of her directive.  Ms. Paskel then reiterated in no uncertain terms, that I was not to respond to the delegate’s question [emphasis mine].

McCauley noted great uproar in the hearing room at the refusal to answer the question, which is corroborated by Smigiel on his blog:

I immediately jumped up from my seat and objected to her interfering with my questioning of the Captain who was there for the very purpose of answering our questions so we could proceed out of an informed position and not out of ignorance. I told the Attorney she had no authority to interfere with the Commander’s 1st Amendment rights when I am trying to protect our 2nd Amendment rights. 
I again directed my questions to the Captain, who had those I believed to be other officers to either side of him. Again, the Attorney butted in to direct the officer to not answer my questions. I began to yell at this point that this was bull, I complained that the executive branch was interfering with the legislative branch’s ability to set public policy. I promised Ms. Paskel that I would tell what she had done. I was very hot and very loud at that point because it was clear that the advocates had just went from ignorance to evil being the driving force behind an unconstitutional law which amounted to an illegal infringement on a Constitutional Right for the purposes of political gain. At that point everyone was very uncomfortable and the meeting broke up.

 “However,” McCauley testified, “I determined that Ms. Paskel was, in that capacity, my superior and I obeyed a direct order from an agent of Governor O’Malley’s office.

Had he been able to answer McCauley said he would have told the committee that SB 281 would have no effect on crime in Maryland, that banned weapons were almost never used in crimes in the state, it would have no impact on mass shootings, and that those wishing to acquire a magazine with a capacity greater than ten rounds would purchase one out-of-state, rendering the ban ineffective, except to restrict the choices of firearms and magazines by law-abiding citizens.

After the hearing ended, according to McCauley, is when Paskel explained to him in a hallway outside the hearing room, the reason she ordered him not to answer the question because the bill was it was “not about policy; it is just votes.”

McCauley inferred from her that the O’Malley administration was pushing the bill “solely to garner political favor” and that they law would have no effect on crime and mass shootings or “didn’t care.”

McCauley finished his testimony stating that he believed Paskel’s statement was an extension of the O’Malley administration’s treatment of firearms issues.  McCauley stated that during his time with the MSP Gang Enforcement and Firearms Enforcement units he was involved in the seizure of a number of firearms not involved in crime, and very few of which were banned by the law.  “Emphasis was placed,” McCauley said, “on the seizure of these firearms as the Office of the Governor wished to focus solely upon the firearms seized, and not decreasing crime.”

Captain McCauley’s Affidavit

More below the fold.