MD unions shake down candidates seeking their endorsement


Alex Bolt provides some back story on unions asking for donations from candidates complete their questionnaires in 2006 and 2010:

Hollywood is currently reviving Star Wars, a classic 1970s series. Perhaps they should revive another 1970s series, The Godfather, with a fourth film centered on Maryland unions’ shakedown of local candidates for office: In 2006 and 2010, the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) asked candidates for the state legislature and county council for donations of $6,000 each, the maximum amount for donations in Maryland. 

Bolt also writes about an instance of it happening in 2014:

Now the United Food and Commercial Workers/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization Local 1994 (MCGEO) is following suit, asking on an endorsement questionnaire, “If endorsed by our Union, will you commit to writing a $4,000-$5,000 check to our PAC, like you would to MCEA, to assist our union’s campaign on your behalf?”

Bolt also notes that it’s unclear if the MCEA is repeating this tactic in 2014.

Dick Jurgena, a Republican compared it to extortion when talking to The Gazette about it:

For Dick Jurgena, a Republican candidate for county council district 2, MCEGO’s question upset him enough that he did not submit the form for an endorsement.

“I looked at it more as extortion than I did as anything else,” he said. “I thought that I was pretty sure the union would not endorse me anyway, then when asking me for $4,000 to $5,000, it turned me off.”

Another note of interesting from The Gazette story:

State election law also prohibits quid pro quo endorsements, or endorsements in exchange for money, said Jared DeMarinis, director of the Candidacy and Campaign Finance Division of the State Board of Elections.

The union spin on this matter is laughable:

“That was to make a point,” said Gino Renne, president of United Food and Commercial Workers/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization Local 1994, MCGEO. “We wouldn’t have accepted any money. We were fishing to see what electeds or candidates would feel compelled to pay to play.”

Sure, now that they get asked by a newspaper about it, they wouldn’t accept the money, they were just trying to make a point with their question. If they were truly trying to make a point about the question, they would release the names of all the candidate who answered affirmatively to it.

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