Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Scrutinize This

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Baltimore Sun put out a hatchet piece on Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. They suggest or imply that excess funds that the State distributed to charity were connected to political donations.

I heard Lt. Gov. Steele speaking on WBAL last week and this came up. If I recall correctly his office received an inquiry about the excess funds that the State had to spend or give to charity. Would the Lt. Gov have any suggestions. According to Steele his office replied with a list and never heard about it again – UNTIL the hatchet machine went to work.

Here is the hatchet piece by Jennifer Skalka.

Relative to The Sun article "Donations to Steele scrutinized" the article states that the Lt. Gov collected thousands of dollars in contributions from non-profits who were recepients of State Grants prior to his announcement that he would run for US Senate (but also while he was publicly considering a run in 2010 for Governor).

The article references "nods and winks". It also says he was the "sole decision-maker as to how these moneys were to be allocated."

The article's first paragraph says "…organizations selected by his [Steele's] office …" but 7 paragraphs later the article states Steele's office was "asked… to recommend African-American organizations to receive the proceeds."

Was he or was he not the "sole-decision maker"? The article isn't clear.

The article also omits that Mike Little's Oxon Hill company contributed to the Steele campaign in 2003.

The rest of the article basically comes down to the issue of appearances.

Lets turn our attention to Congressman Benjamin Cardin. From the Congressman's website:

Benjamin L. Cardin … is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Ranking Member of the Trade Subcommittee and a member of the Human Resources Subcommittee.

Ways and Means is responsible for raising Federal revenue to finance the Federal Government. This includes individual and corporate income taxes, excise taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and other miscellaneous taxes, has jurisdiction over the authority of the Federal Government to borrow money, also includes conditions under which the U.S. Department of the Treasury manages the Federal debt, such as restrictions on the conditions under which certain debt instruments are sold and has jurisdiction over most of the programs authorized by the Social Security Act.

Subcommittee on Trade is responsible for bills and matters referred to the Committee on Ways and Means that relate to customs and customs administration including tariff and import fee structure.

Subcommittee on Human Resources include bills and matters referred to the Committee on Ways and Means that relate to the public assistance.

Now that is a very dry description of Ways and Means. Please understand. This is a very very powerful group of men.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In recent times, Ways and Means has been one of the most important committees in a policy sense, due to its wide jurisdiction. While it lacks the prospects for reelection help that come with the Appropriations Committee, it is seen as a valuable post for two reasons. First, since its range is so broad, members with a wide array of policy concerns often seek positions, simply to be able to influence policy decisions. Major issues that have gone through this committee read like a laundry list of important bills, including welfare reform, a Medicare prescription drug benefit, President George W. Bush's tax cuts, and NAFTA and other free trade agreements. Second, given the wide array of interests that are affected by the committee, a seat makes it very easy to collect campaign contributions.

The following information comes from Political Money Line

Ben Cardin 2005 – 2006 Fundraising Cycle as a Senate Candidate from PACs
1. Finance, Insurance $63,000
2. Organized Labor $58,750
3. Health Care $52,500
4. Single-Issue Groups $41,249
5. Law $35,600
6. Energy, Natural Resources $24,100
7. Transportation $13,999
8. Business – Retail, Services $13,000
9. Communication, Technology $5,200

Ben Cardin 2005 Fundraising Cycle as a member of Congress from PACs

1. Finance, Insurance $92,209
2. Organized Labor $81,509
3. Health Care $31,500
4. Defense $14,000
5. Manufacturing $10,324
6. Law $9,000
7. Business – Retail, Services $9,000
8. Transportation $6,000
9. Single-Issue Groups $6,000

Does it mean anything at all that Ben Cardin raises money from the very industries he regulates? Where is the Baltimore Sun's article on this. Why don't they scrutinize the $2M plus that Congressman Cardin has raised from individuals? Why are attorney's who represent industries that Cardin regulates not reviewed?

Does it really matter? No it doesn't, unless you are Michael Steele (R).

I would recommend that the Baltimore Sun write an article about Congressman Ben Cardin and his campaign fundraising as a member of the very influential Ways and Means Committee, Ranking Member of the Trade Subcommittee and a member of the Human Resources Subcommittee?


One Response to “Scrutinize This”

  1. Anonymous said

    That’ll be the day when they endorse a republican for any office…so never

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