Did the O’Malley-Brown administration shake down state contractors for federal contributions?


That’s the question that Larry Hogan’s Change Maryland asks:

Change Maryland released initial findings that show a relationship between 2011 contributions to the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) and the award of state contracts. The group found that in many cases, DGA contributors received significant state benefits shortly before, or after, making generous donations to the organization Governor Martin O’Malley chaired.

Here’s what Hogan had to say about it:

“Our preliminary research indicates a disturbing ‘pay to play’ pattern emerging from the O’Malley-Brown Administration where some DGA donors received a substantial, and increased, state benefits before and after making a contribution,” charged Larry Hogan, Chairman of Change Maryland. “Did the Governor solicit large contributions to help further his national aspirations and reward those donors with huge state contracts and/or implement policies that help them significantly?”

While state law prevents candidates from receiving contributions from state contractors, there’s no prohibition from those contractors giving money to a federal account.

Some more information from the Change Maryland release:

Change Maryland expects to release its full report in January 2014. A 2011 Baltimore Sun piece identified a couple of questionable contributions and Change Maryland has identified more, including the following activities:

  • Beowulf Energy, a company interested in building an offshore wind farm off of the coast of Maryland. In 2011, the Baltimore Sun reported that Beowulf donated 10,000 to the DGA. The firm’s acting director, Michael Enright, is former chief of staff to and lifelong friend of Governor O’Malley. O’Malley signed the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act into law in 2013.
  • Change Maryland took their investigation one step further than the Sun, and found that in addition, Colorado Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of Beowulf Energy, donated $30,000 to the DGA on June 14, 2011. On July 27, 2011, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a lease of 250 acres of former state prison land to Maryland Solar, LLC to construct a solar farm. Maryland Solar was created by Beowulf Energy.
  • United Healthcare Services, which donated $375,000 to the DGA in 2011. Since 2008, the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene has paid UHS over $2 billion in state contracts.
  • Scientific Games Management Corporation, a multifaceted gaming company that provides services to state lotteries. Scientific Games donated $25,000 in 2009, $50,370 in 2010, and $50,000 in 2011, the year that Governor O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved a contract extension with the company. The company doubled their donations as the contract renewal approached.

Change Maryland’s full report, as noted above, will be released in January. Larry Hogan is also announcing his bid for governor in January.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton