Archive for Justin Ready

MD Public Defender’s Trump email called “inflammatory”

MD Public DefenderOver the weekend, MD Public Defender Paul DeWolfe sent an email to all Office of Public Defender (OPD) staff members across the state using state government email servers. DeWolfe insists the email wasn’t “anti-Trump” but one Republican state senator calls it “inflammatory rhetoric.”

In his email, DeWolfe mentioned that, “Many of us are still in shock and despair over the [election] results.”

He then talks about the election of Nixon and Republicans in 1968 that he claims “resulted in the reversal of so many of the progressive reforms brought about by the struggles of the Civil Rights movement.”

After detailing the things that he said Nixon was responsible for rolling back, DeWolfe then said, “Believe it or not, this election seems worse to me than even the election of 1968.”

After saying that it is time to “get angry and fight back”, he discusses Trump policies including stop and frisk, “mass deportation” of illegal immigrants, and issues related to incarceration and policing.

DeWolfe also has a three-point call to action for his staff that involves them joining his volunteer immigration team, joining the fight for bail and pretrial reform, and becoming “active in the fight against the anticipated wave of bigotry and repression against our minority, immigrant and LGBTQ clients.”

Here’s a screenshot of the DeWolfe email:

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Yesterday, I sent a request for comment to OPD and pointed out that the message could be considered an anti-Trump email. I received the following statement from Paul DeWolfe:

Communicating with staff about significant national and local issues relevant to criminal defense practice is an important priority of mine.  Consistent with reactions across the country, many OPD staff have expressed concern regarding how the election will impact our clients and our work.  The email message was not anti-Trump but responsive to threats made on constitutional rights that will directly impact the people we represen

After being contacted for a comment, Republican State Senator Justin Ready had strong words for the email sent to OPD staff by DeWolfe:

I think using taxpayer funded resources to send inflammatory material is questionable to say the least. It’s wrong to accuse people who voted for Trump or Trump himself of wanting to roll back the clock on civil rights. That’s an outrageous charge. The OPD performs an important public service ensuring that anyone accused of a crime can have legal representation. However, its irresponsible to be engaging in this kind of rhetoric. It’s wrong and it’s untrue.

More on MD Public Defender Paul DeWolfe

DeWolfe was named MD Public Defender in late 2009 after his predecessor was terminated. He was previously Montgomery County Public Defender.  He was reappointed earlier this year. In an interview in July, he discussed his office’s work to free people arrested during the Baltimore riots of 2015.

The MD Public Defender is hired by a 13 member Board of trustees. 11 members of that board are appointed by the Governor and one each by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Good luck finding the membership of the board on the OPD website (or anywhere else online), it’s not there. I even looked in PDFs of their annual reports and in legislative audits.

Speaking of legislative audits – according to a story in The Daily Record in August 2014:

The Office of the Public Defender failed to ensure clients were financially eligible, and the agency failed to submit invoices to the state comptroller for timely payment, according to an audit released Thursday by the Office of Legislative Audits.

Be sure to read the entire audit online from the Office of Legislative Audits for further details.

Maryland State Board of Elections databases show DeWolfe gave money in 2006 to the campaign of Tom Perez. Federal Election Commission databases show no federal contributions given by Paul B. DeWolfe of Maryland.

More from his bio:

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2005, Mr. DeWolfe is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a former President of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, and a former President of the Bar Association of Montgomery County Maryland. Currently he is Secretary of the Criminal Law Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association.

 

More on Larry Hogan’s Campaign Staff and Consultants

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I promised more on the campaign finances reported in April by the Hogan campaign. Let’s look now at what consultants and staffers made between February 3 and April 14.

First let’s look at the consultants.

Mark Newgent of Red Maryland and Watchdog Wire made $1330 in consulting fees. Amy Shuster made $6000 as a consultant. A firm called Voter Contact Solutions made $10,224 in consulting fees.

Voter Contact Solutions is listed on the report as being at a Crofton address. If you look that address up in state property records, it is a residential property that belongs to Hogan campaign manager Steve Crim’s wife and is presumably where Crim lives. Steve Crim lists himself as the owner of Voter Contact Solutions, LLC and Election Strategies, LLC.

If you look at state business records, Voter Contact Solutions, LLC has its address listed as being at the same Annapolis address as the offices of the Hogan Companies (and the same address Change Maryland  filed its initial IRS paperwork from in 2011.) instead of at the Crim residence as the campaign reported. In fact, business records also indicate that the current status for Voter Contact Solutions is “FORFEITED” and that the business is not in good standing.

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From a state government explanation:

“Forfeited” means the “legal existence” of the entity has been relinquished and it is usually for failing to make required Annual Report/Personal Property Return filings for prior years. [emphasis added]

If you look further into the records, you notice the reason for the forfeiture (which took place on 10/1/12):

THE ENTITY WAS FORFEITED FOR FAILURE TO FILE PROPERTY RETURN FOR 2011.”

In other words, the legal existence of Voter Contact Solutions, a business that the Hogan campaign paid over $10,000 to, has been relinquished since 2012. Crim’s other business (Election Strategies, LLC) also is not in good standing and its status is forfeited, according to state records. Election Strategies was formed on the same day in 2010 and forfeited on the same day in 2012 as Voter Contact Solutions.

If you go to votercontactsolutions.com this is what you see right now:

voter-contact

In addition to Steve Crim, Delegate Justin Ready is listed on the web page. The domain name for Voter Contact Solutions is registered to Crim and Strategic CFM, LLC at a Glen Burnie office park address. The state business records for Strategic CFM, LLC indicate that it is at the same Glen Burnie address in the domain registration records. It is also not in good standing with the state of Maryland. Strategic CFM was organized in 2009 and forfeited in 2011 for not filing required 2010 records.

If you look at strategicCFM.com you will see what is commonly known as a “link farm.”

When domain name owners don’t pay to renew their domain, they often get snapped up by companies looking to make money off of the domain by charging others for links to it. That appears to be the case with this site, but it can’t be determined for sure since the domain name registration information is private.

To sum things up:

  • The Hogan campaign reported that they paid over $10,000 to Voter Contact Solutions.
  • The campaign reported Voter Contact Solutions is at campaign manager Steve Crim’s house.
  • Steve Crim lists himself as the owner of both Voter Contact Solutions, LLC and Election Strategies, LLC.
  • Both Voter Contact Solutions, LLC and Election Strategies, LLC, were registered with the state at the same address at The Hogan Companies and Change Maryland.
  • State business records indicate that both Crim businesses above relinquished their legal existence and are not in good standing.
  • The domain name for the website of Voter Contact Solutions is registered to Steve Crim of Strategic CFM.
  • Strategic CFM is also not in good standing with the state after forfeiting.

It would appear that the Hogan campaign has paid over $10,000 to a business belonging to the campaign manager that has been not legally recognized by the state since 2012 due to not complying with state law. If a reasonable explanation for the above facts could possibly exist, it still indicates extremely sloppy business practices in the best-case scenario. All of the information above has been compiled from campaign finance reports, state business and property records, and domain name registration information.

Next, let’s look at the paid campaign staff.

Read More…

Maryland Republican politicians sending their campaign money to West Virginia

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I’ve reported in the past that Alex Mooney came back into Maryland for fundraisers with Bob Ehrlich and Andy Harris to benefit his congressional campaign in West Virginia.

After last week’s campaign finance filings, we can now see which Maryland campaigns transferred money from their state campaign committees to Mooney’s federal committee in West Virginia during 2013.

Friends of Joseph Bartlett for Delegate sent the Mooney campaign a check for $999 on 10/13/2013. Michael Hough for Delegate also sent a check for $999 on 7/3/2013.  Citizens for Leroy Myers, Jr. also sent Mooney $999 (on 8/20/2013.)

Friends of Big Ed Reilly sent $990 to Mooney on 7/25/2013. Other contributions to Mooney’s federal campaign include Friends of Kathy Szeliga ($500 on 6/30/2013), Friends of Justin Ready ($250 on 6/30/2013), Citizens to Elect Mike McDermott ($200 on 12/9/2013), and Neil Parrott for Delegate ($100 on 6/28/2013.)

If you look at Alex Mooney’s last filing with the Federal Election Committee (through the 3rd Quarter of 2013), you will see the contributions from Myers, Reilly, Ready, Szeliga, and Hough. Additionally, a transfer of $2,000 from Andy Harris for Congress (a federal committee) is listed on Mooney’s filing.

If you look more closely at Mooney’s FEC filing, you will see a $500 individual contribution (presumably from personal funds) by Delegate Kathy Afzali on 6/30/2013.

Carmen Amedori running for House of Delegates

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Michael Swartz reports that Carmen Amedori is running for the House of Delegates.

At this moment, Amedori joins a field with three incumbent legislators, two of whom were redistricted into the revamped District 5. Donald Elliott was elected in District 4B, which covered both Carroll and Frederick counties, while Susan Krebs hails from the Carroll side of District 9B, which also covered a portion of Howard County. Justin Ready already represents Carroll in the former District 5A. The new map somewhat resembles the district Amedori was originally elected in, a time when she served with both Elliott and (later) Krebs in the General Assembly. Ready was first elected in 2010.

All three incumbents, as well as Amedori, are Republicans. Amedori was previously a House member in the old District 5A. She previously considered running for state party chair and U.S. Senate.

Confirmed: David Ferguson out as Executive Director of the MD GOP

fergusonUpdate: As I said before, there are two sides to every story, and I’ve updated this post to include some of the other side of the story, as well as to clarify some facts regarding the situation. I’m open to hearing any other information about this matter. As far as Monday’s events go, I’ve heard confirmation from other witnesses regarding the basic facts that I already had confirmed from witnesses and sources. David Ferguson also sent an email out to the central committee about his resignation.

I asked questions overnight seeking confirmation after hearing from multiple people that David Ferguson had left as Executive Director for the Maryland Republican Party. I had heard that Chair Diana Waterman was attempting to keep a lid on the news then, and as I’ve learned since then, that is definitely the case. There had been previous reports he was looking to leave. It had been out there for a while that Ferguson was looking for another job. From what I’m hearing now, Diana Waterman should not have been that surprised at the course of events. I’ve also heard denials that Waterman was trying to keep a lid on the situation – that she was waiting until party leadership had been informed. I’ll let readers be the judge of that one.

I sent emails and other messages to multiple people affiliated with the party. I also sent an email to david@mdgop.org. The email didn’t bounce but I got no reply. I’ve heard various versions of when and how Ferguson departed and I’ve also heard that any rumors he left are “BS.”

I have confirmed that he did indeed leave the MD GOP and that it happened Monday. Waterman just sent a terse email to executive committee members saying Ferguson had left and wishing him well. Multiple sources have confirmed how it all went down. He was in his office with the door closed and there were noises emanating from the office. He came out of his office and went into the conference room where a meeting was taking place. He apparently told Waterman he was leaving and left a note for her giving notice regarding his lease (her husband’s management company was his landlord.) Waterman came out of the conference room, said something along the lines of “what the hell just happened?” and then went to Ferguson’s office to find it completely it had been cleaned out via the window to the street. From what I’ve heard, the boxes containing his books and personal effects were breaking so he used the window to place them in his car parked in the driveway.

watermanI am hearing Waterman and her allies have been in denial, in full panic mode, and just desperately trying to spin the situation. I have never been a defender of the Waterman regime and I will continue to make legitimate criticisms of things I disagree with, but this appears to be a pretty unprofessional way to leave on Ferguson’s part. I also heard that in the aftermath of the departure, Waterman was devastated and in shock. There are two sides to every story, and I’m willing to hear Ferguson’s side if he wants to give it to me. At first glance however, this appears to be an immature move and not one that does his reputation any favors.

Ferguson was 2010 campaign manager in the 2010 GOP primary for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. He also had his own consulting firm. Bentley’s win in the primary was a big upset and got Ferguson a lot of positive attention for his political acumen.

Does this mean Ryan Miner will be applying to be executive director of the Maryland GOP?

Waterman’s email is below: Read More…