Archive for MD GOP

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:

md-public-defender

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.

 

Flashback: Kathy Szeliga in 2013

szeligaIn 2013, I blogged about reports that Delegate Kathy Szeliga called for a “legislative investigation into the failures of the state health insurance exchange” to Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Speaker Mike Busch, and Leader Mike Miller.

She also told Bryan Sears of The Daily Record that she wanted a “forensic audit” to “look at the costs, the contracts and how they were awarded.”

The most memorable quote from that story:

Szeliga said Brown, former health care exchange director Rebecca Pearce and others “are just polishing a turd” when it comes to the information being released about the website and its unsuccessful rollout.

More on Kathy Szeliga

Szeliga is a solidly pro-life member of the Maryland House of Delegates. She faces hard left Democrat Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. Senate race.

She was dead-on with her comments about Anthony Brown and the Maryland Obamacare Exchange’s woes.

MD GOP Del. Impallaria charged with DWI

impallariaMaryland Delegate Rick Impallaria (R-Essex) was charged with driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol Thursday evening at 8:12 in Ocean City. Bryan Sears of The Daily Record was the first to break the story.

Impallaria was parked illegally as he got into his pickup truck and started the engine on 82nd Street. A police officer noticed that he had an open container of alcohol and initiated a traffic stop.

According to the story, Impallaria failed to complete a field sobriety test and blew a 0.07 on a breathalyzer test.

He attended a Senate Republican Caucus reception at the nearby location of Ropewalk Tavern an hour earlier. In fact, Impallaria was quoted in a story on the reception by Michael Dresser of The Baltimore Sun. The reception was held to coincide with the Maryland Association of Counties conference.

More on Impallaria

Senator J.B. Jennings, who represents the same district in Harford and Baltimore Counties, hosted the reception Thursday night. Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Pat McDonough serve as Impallaria’s seatmates in the House.

It will be interesting to see if any Republicans call on Impallaria to resign. Several delegates from both parties called on former Delegate Don Dwyer to resign after his drunk driving and boating arrests. The MD GOP refrained from condeming Dwyer.

Will Szeliga, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Chris Van Hollen call on him to resign? Will McDonough, who is running for Congress, call on him to resign? Will Governor Hogan call on him to resign?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE:

Red Maryland blogger Brian Griffiths becomes the first person to call on Impallaria to resign.

Maryland Republicans against Trump

Maryland RepublicansThis week, a letter written to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called on the Republican Party to shift money to down ballot races instead of spending it on the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. More than 110 people signed the letter, including at least two members of Congress. Several Maryland Republicans also signed the letter.

Former MD GOP Finance Chairman Rob Carter, who also served in the Bob Ehrlich Administration, appears on the list first alphabetically. Current Bowie City Councilman Michael Esteve also signed the letter. Esteve served as the State Chairman of College Republicans. Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland also signed the letter. Griffiths served as Chairman of Maryland Young Republicans and in regional and national office with the YRs.

Heather Olsen also signed the letter. Olsen went to the GOP convention as an alternate delegate in 2008 and served as Chair of the Prince George’s County GOP in the past. Chevy Weiss, former communications director of the MD GOP, also signed the letter.

Other Maryland Republicans

Governor Larry Hogan has also refused to endorse Donald Trump for President. I think he chose wisely in his decision. I do think his staff mishandled the public relations piece of that decision however. They should have made a decisive statement in the beginning instead of kicking the can down the road. That just caused them to be questioned even more about it. Politically, it won’t hurt Hogan. The only real protests have come from the usual soreheads and malcontents who complain about everything. Many of these people also supported Charles Lollar in the 2014 gubernatorial primary against Hogan.

Also this week, former Bob Ehrlich speechwriter and Helen Delich Bentley staffer Richard Cross penned an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun. In the piece, Cross notes that he wrote the Republican convention speech of Benghazi mom Patricia Smith in Cleveland this summer. He also writes that he can’t support Trump and is now leaning toward voting for Hillary Clinton. His piece was picked up by several other newspapers and websites and has been reported on many places as well. I expect he will also see some television coverage and appearances based on his role at the convention and his current voting plans.

I recently wrote about the fact that I left the GOP and won’t be voting for Donald Trump. I first wrote about this decision in a column published by The Daily Beast. I have also now submitted my name to be added to the letter mentioned in this blog post. I, Jeff Quinton, served as the vice chairman of the Laurens County (SC) GOP and as a state committeeman for the South Carolina College Republican Federation.

Plenty of other Maryland Republicans also won’t be voting for Trump or otherwise supporting him I’m sure.

Anti-Trump Ad Airing in Baltimore

Anti-Trump

Earlier today, The Washington Post reported on a memo by an Anti-Trump Super PAC that will be airing ads in the Baltimore television market.

The group says in the memo that Trump has a “nearly impossible path” moving forward and counters Trump campaign talking points that he will have 1,400 delegates after the primaries and will win a first ballot nomination in Cleveland.

From the story:

In its Thursday analysis, Our Principles PAC calls the Trump campaign’s prediction “detached from reality.”

“In order to secure 1,400 delegates, he would have to win 82% of all remaining delegates, a task simply not possible for him or any candidate at this stage in the process,” the memorandum states. It goes on to detail how Trump faces many obstacles and that “there are dozens of viable and plausible outcomes that will leave Trump well short of the required 1,237 delegates.”

Looking ahead to the five primaries in the Northeast on April 26, sometimes called the “Acela Primary,” Our Principles PAC concedes that Trump is likely to have sweeping victories: “… our planning assumes Trump can win nearly all of the bound delegates without improving his very slim chances.”

Watch the Anti-Trump Ad

Read the Anti-Trump Memo

Here’s the Our Principles PAC memo:

TO: INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: OUR PRINCIPLES PAC

SUBJECT: DELEGATE MATH UPDATE – NEW YORK REALITY CHECK

DATE: APRIL 21, 2016

Read More…