Who Ya Gonna Call?

As we head into the holidays, there’s going to be a wasteland period with little if any news to report. MD candidates are scrambling (product placement alert!) to finish Q4 fundraising with a flourish, but that’s about it. And we not have anything to talk about in terms of new numbers until January 15, although the whispering has already begun.

So to fill the space and hopefully provide some entertainment and information, I’m going to put it out to you, dear readers. 

Here’s a series of questions: if you have a campaign to run, who do you want to manage it? How about field? Which consultants are you hoping to engage? Which local activists do you want on your team?

Similarly, you’ve got a bill you want to pass in Annapolis or the counties: which lobbyist/activist/lawyer would you want to run your advocacy?

I want nominations. Totally anonymous, even better if you give me reasons why. I may use the narrative answers in a post, but again, they’re anonymous.


1. Campaigns. A. Staff B. Activists C. Consultants

2. Policy. A. Lobbyists B. Activists C. Lawyers

Once I have nominations, I will create a poll that will allow the Maryland Scramble readership to vote in utterly unscientific fashion, so some folks can brag and others can curse the unfair voting system. Self-nominations are permitted, and I may throw a few in myself if they don’t show up in your submissions.

Before Christmas, we’re going to answer the question “who ya gonna call?” to see who are the biggest, baddest and most effective politicos in all the land - or at least Maryland.

I even created a new email - [email protected] - just for this little exercise. You can use it to cents for me for other blog-related communications, or you can use the site’s sidebar for non-public comments as well.

The floor is open. Whatcha got for me?

Big Spenders

Want to know who spent how much on lobbying in Annapolis this year? The Baltimore Sun has the information you need. Top spenders: the teachers’ union and Exelon, the new mega-utility in town.

Top 10

The top 10 businesses, industry groups and other entities that spent the most on lobbying in Annapolis during a four-month period encompassing the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

1) $446,242 Maryland State Education Association
2) $368,673 Exelon Corp.
3) $345,719 Maryland Hospital Association
4) $329,432 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
5) $310,398 MedChi, the Maryland state medical society
6) $290,203 Maryland Bankers Association
7) $284,549 Maryland Retailers Association
8) $271,270 Maryland Catholic Conference, LLC

9) $270,045 Johns Hopkins Institutions

10) $263,641 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

More lobbying and lobbyist information is available at the website of the State Ethics Commission. Ethics.maryland.gov.

Josh Kurtz: “Follow The Money”

Josh Kurtz at Center Maryland has a wide-ranging column today, covering lobbying ((did you know 15 lobbyists made over $500,000 each during the 2015 legislative session?), Bruce Bereano’s outsized influence over the Tawes Crab Feast, a legendary Maryland political event being held tomorrow in Crisfield (the air conditioned Bereano tent is so lovely), and the database of expense reimbursements put together by Chase Cook of the Capital Gazette (among other things, legislators from Anne Arundel County took the maximum reimbursement for hotels despite living close by).

Eye opening and sobering, Kurtz’s amble through the piles of money changing hands in Annapolis is a catalog of reminders that, in Maryland, arguably more than in most places, he or she who had the gold makes the rules and the laws. A sampling:

In all, 109 lobbyists have earned $50,000 or more since Nov. 1. Perhaps Annapolis isn’t such a sleepy town after all.

If nothing else, the Maryland lobbying class – along with the political class – has become more professionalized than it once was, and is feasting on the financial opportunities. Now, more than ever, you’ve got to follow the money to figure out what’s going on in Maryland politics – at a time when media coverage of the State House is more limited than it’s ever been.
Twenty-nine entities spent $150,000 or more on lobbying in the six-month period, and 179 spent at least $50,000. As is often the case, the health care and energy sectors were the big spenders.

I’ve talked about these issues before, and will continue to do so. Full disclosure: as part of my background research I’m going to Tawes tomorrow, but I promise not to go into the Bereano tent - unless it gets really, really hot. Ethics is one thing, but air conditioning is a basic necessity of modern life.