Charles Lollar and Ben Carson… again

carson-lollar

I was one of the first bloggers to notice last year that there was something weird going on with the purported endorsement of Charles Lollar by Dr. Ben Carson in April of 2013.

As I noted last month, that endorsement allegedly took place at an event at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC on April 14, 2013. Lollar campaign manager Karen Winterling sent an email out on April 23, 2013 touting the supposed endorsement. The “endorsement” was on the campaign website for a while and eventually taken down off the site. It didn’t include any statements from Carson, just quotes from Lollar.

Fast-forward to March 2014, and Lollar’s campaign again put out a fundraising message asking for money and touting an endorsement of Lollar by Ben Carson. The message, which contained no statement from Carson, also claimed Carson had given $4000 to the Lollar campaign. I pointed out all these facts in early March.

I asked if it was really news if Carson had endorsed Lollar at the time, since the campaign also claimed he made the endorsement almost a year earlier. After last month’s alleged endorsement, I emailed the Lollar campaign questions and got no reply. I could find no direct way of contacting Carson for a statement. His speaker’s bureau website is the only apparent way to contact him as others have noted.

However, I did find an email address for someone at his scholarship foundation and sent a message asking for contact information of someone who could make a statement on the record on Dr. Carson’s behalf. I got stonewalled by the person who responded who couldn’t give me that information, but offered to pass my request along. I never heard from anyone after I provided my questions.

A month after my most recent post on the subject, Joe Steffen started digging into the matter and wrote this on April 14:

On April 9th, Carson spoke at the Weinberg Center Stage as a part of a Frederick, MD, speaker’s series. And, it was there that Carson apparently told GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Ron George and George’s running mate, Shelley Aloi, that he (Carson) had never given Charles Lollar his endorsement. According to my source, Carson went on to say that he supports anyone’s desire to run for office. That, he said, was “not an official endorsement.”

Steffen also asked Ron George for comment:

Anyway, I tried to get Ron George on the record concerning what Carson had said, and all I received in return was his campaign telling me that “Ron and Shelley were with Ben Carson but had no comment.”

Steffen also notes he tried to contact Carson through the speakers bureau and also tried to contact Lollar and his campaign with no success, which leads him ask this question:

 If Ben Carson didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, why is it almost accepted as gospel that he did? Could it have something to do with this email that the Lollar campaign sent out last month? [the email that I blogged about on March 6.]

Steffen also wrote about the matter again on April 16, 2014. He noted that video existed of Carson that a Lollar supporter claimed was an endorsement. This video was possibly from the 2013 event I wrote about last month.

Steffen followed up with this statement from Fred Propheter (who is involved with the Ron George campaign):

Could it be just a matter of semantics? I was willing to let it all go at that point, and with my little mind pondering that question – until I got an email message from a friend of mine from Frederick, Fred Propheter.

Fred tells me that he was at the Weinberg Center the night of Ben Carson’s speech there and that he and Carson had a chance meeting before the Doctor’s speech. At this – Oh, Hell, I’ll let Fred explain what transpired after he bumped into Doctor Carson and struck up a brief conversation with him: “I specifically asked him if he had endorsed Lollar or ANY other candidate. 3 word answer “No, absolutely not.” Then he was gone….”

Steffen also discusses two possibilities for what’s going on:

Hmmm. Well, if nothing else, if Carson’s now saying that he didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, it sounds like either 1) He never did endorse Lollar (and I can’t find that word anywhere attached to Lollar from Carson), or if he did – or even thinks other folks may believe that he did – it sounds to me as if he is now walking that endorsement back.

Steffen comes to the conclusion that Carson never endorsed Lollar and that would appear to be the case. There have been other instances where Lollar apparently touted supportive words from people as a formal endorsement and later had to back off the claim.

To summarize things, Lollar’s campaign sent out a message in April 2013 claiming an endorsement from Carson. That “endorsement” was also placed on the old version of the Lollar website but was eventually removed. Last month, the Lollar campaign sent an email out claiming an endorsement and $4000 contribution from Carson. None of these so-called endorsements included statements from Carson himself and multiple attempts by multiple bloggers to contact him and the Lollar campaign about the matter have been ignored. The final piece of the puzzle would seem to be Carson emphatically telling Propheter last week that he didn’t endorse Lollar.

MD GOP candidate behind FindLocalPot.com

marijuana-caduceus

I wrote before on questions about Don Quinn’s residency that were raised since he was still registered to vote in Washington state in January when he first registered in Maryland (the same day he filed to run for office.) Additionally, he was still driving a vehicle with Washington tags in late January. Quinn is running against Eric Knowles in the Republican Primary for the Maryland State Senate in District 30. The winner faces incumbent Senator John Astle in November.

Quinn’s recent home of Washington voted to legalize marijuana in 2012. Specifically, adults over the age of 21 in Washington can legally “possess up to 1 oz (28 g) of marijuana, 16 oz (450 g) of marijuana infused product in solid form, 72 oz (2.0 kg) of marijuana infused product in liquid form or any combination of all three and to legally consume marijuana, and marijuana infused products.”

In this year’s legislative session, marijuana was decriminalized in Maryland. Specifically, the bill signed earlier this week by Governor Martin O’Malley does the following:

With decriminalization, violators would receive citations similar to traffic tickets for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana: the person could either pay the fine in full or request a trial date in District Court. Failure to appear would be a misdemeanor under the criminal code. Records of convictions would not be subject to public inspection, the bill says.

[...]

The final bill that emerged from the House and Senate would have escalating fines for multiple offenses: a second violation would carry a $250 fine, and a third offense would have a $500 fine. A court would be required to order a drug assessment for a third-time offender. In addition, a violator who is younger than 21 years old would have to appear before a court; the initial version in the Senate applied that sanction to people under 18 years old.

All of the above is context for the meat of this story below.

A website called FindLocalPot.com exists and the domain name is registered to Donald Quinn in care of a webhost in Los Angeles.

whois-findlocalpot

The website itself bears this copyright notice:

 © 2014 Indelible Ink Marketing

Don Quinn, candidate for the Maryland State Senate, lists himself as director at Indelible Ink on his LinkedIn profile.

Currently, the Find Local Pot website focuses on medical marijuana. In some states medicinal marijuana is tightly regulated. However, in some states, like California, the medical marijuana process has proven to be a joke. Even though the content of Quinn’s website focuses on medical marijuana for now, that domain name could make the site a very lucrative one for facilitating marijuana sales in the future if the federal government and other states were to fully legalize marijuana. As I noted in a previous post, there has been a split in the MD GOP (and in the state overall) on marijuana issues.

I’ve included some screenshots from the site below. Based on the site’s overall design and layout (plus things like misspelled words), I’m not sure I would hire Indelible Ink if I were in the market for a website design.

findlocalpot1
findlocalpot2
findlocalpot3
findlocalpot4

Read Larry Hogan’s full campaign finance report

hogan-rutherford

The first campaign finance report for the Hogan-Rutherford Committee to Change Maryland is below. I will be doing a full analysis of the document in the coming days.

Larry Hogan’s Campaign Finance Report – April 15, 2014 by Jeff Quinton

David Vogt and Barrie Ciliberti report anemic fundraising totals

hough-slate

David Vogt only raised $2300 between February 13 and April 8 according to a report he filed earlier this week. Barrie Ciliberti, who is on a slate including Vogt, Kathy Afzali, and Mike Hough, only raised $3750 between February 24 and April 8.

Looking at Vogt’s fundraising, he reported raising $2300 and spending $0 yet somehow managed to have a $1657.50 bank account balance at the end of the filing period (instead of $2300 which is listed as his cash balance in a separate box on the form.) Vogt had problems with getting his on-hand balance right in his congressional campaign before he bailed on that bid.

$1000 of Vogt’s contributions were:

  • $500 he gave to his own campaign
  • $250 in a personal contribution from Kathy Afzali
  • $250 from Mike Hough’s campaign committee

Of the $2300 in total receipts, 43.5% came from Vogt or other members of his slate. Vogt received $1000 from B&E Associates GP in Hagerstown. That business has only given money to Bob Ehrlich (in both 2006 and 2010) before. B&E Associates shares the same address as Ewing Oil Company and Prudential Bowen Realty in Hagerstown. Vogt had three other donors who gave him a combined total of $300.

The lack of expenditures listed on Vogt’s finance report is troubling since he had a much-publicized campaign kickoff event in Brunswick on March 23 that included free lunch to those who attended. There are no in-kind contributions listed on the form for food or for anything else. Additionally, all of Vogt’s contributions, except the Hough one in February, were in March. Vogt had been pushing to raise $5000 in the first fifteen days in April on Facebook. Through April 8, those efforts produced no results.

Barrie Ciliberti reported a cash balance and bank account balance at the end of the period that were the same, unlike Vogt. Ciliberti reported that he raised $3750 and spent $941.90 leaving him with $2808.10 on hand.

He received $250 from the campaign account of Mike Hough and $250 from the campaign account of Kathy Afzali. $200 came from other people with the last name of Ciliberti. His largest contributions were from Monocacy Crossing, Inc. and Robert K. Regan, who both gave $1000 each. He received $1000 combined from three other contributors.

Ciliberti’s largest expense was $642.50 to a printer in Seattle for brochures. Most of his other expenditures were for campaign field expenses and reimbursements and a small amount for postage.

Afzali, Vogt, and Ciliberti have a primary in June that will also include Kelly Schulz and Wendi Peters.

Here’s the Vogt report:

David Vogt's campaign finance report – April 15, 2014

Here’s Ciliberti’s report:

Barrie Ciliberti Finance Report, 4/15/14

Study: significant brain differences found even among casual marijuana users

marijuana

Society for Neuroscience News:

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study published April 16 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

[...]

In the current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. Although psychiatric evaluations ruled out the possibility that the marijuana users were dependent on the drug, imaging data revealed they had significant brain differences. The nucleus accumbens — a brain region known to be involved in reward processing — was larger and altered in its shape and structure in the marijuana users compared to non-users.

“This study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD, who studies drug addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was not involved with this study. “These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers, and have largely ignored the brains of casual users.”

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — a brain region that plays a central role in emotion — in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day.  The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” Breiter said.

While marijuana has been decriminalized in Maryland now, it has not been fully legalized. Opponents of legalization, including Greg Kline, will likely point to this study to bolster their arguments.