Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events


Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, May 18, 2006

The posts I have made about Mr. Livesay have ignited a lot of emotions. For the most part I think that is a very good thing. It is part of the political process.

Some of the emails I have received have been gracious, to the point, and on subject (whether pro or anti Livesay). Others have been – well lets not go there. I would like to reply to some of these critics. We are all entitled to our opinions. I have a lot of opinions which is why I have this blog. You also know my name, yet you all remain anonymous. I am willing to say what is on my mind and sign my name too it. I think you are a coward for posting anonymously and it makes me wonder how strongly you are married to your convictions. Despite that I let you post comments here anyway.

Some people think I work on the Fox campaign. I do not. I don’t even live in District Five. I know and admire Greg. I am the treasure of a slate committee comprised of five Republican Candidates and Greg is one of them. When I was approached to be treasurer it wasn’t by Greg Fox. I am managing money for a Golf Tournament. Want to come? So that is the extent of my connection to Greg Fox.

Yes,I have been talking to the press – you make that sound as if that is a bad thing. I got an unsolicated call from one paper, and I contacted the other because we are aquainted and I knew that they were going to write the story anyway. So, tell me. Am I wrong to talk to the press? No I am not. Neither are any of the three lawyers who were interviewed for those two articles – none of which had anything good to say about the issue. This isn’t the only current issue in which I have talked to the press about and it won’t be the last.

For example: Do your remember the series of articles that Larry Carson (The Sun) wrote about Developer money in political campaigns? What got that started? This blog was partly responsible. I thought Mr. Carson was being unfair to Chris Merdon and I posted an article in which I analyzed the contributions of Chris Merdon and Ken Ulman. I sent the article to Mr. Carson after which he and I had a lengthy dialogue on the subject. Mr. Carson followed up with two articles of his own. That is the purpose of this blog. Discuss the issues, get a different perspective, bring the obscure but important issues out into the light. Want to abolish the press?
In addition, I wrote about the competing Robey and Feaga tax plans. Two of the other Howard County Blogs analyzed that with me and the three of us beat it to death – we did a more thorough vetting of those plans than any of the papers did. Same with the recently proposed portable assements. Unfortunately the newspapers aren’t too exicited about taxes. However, The Hatch Act and Campaign Contributions tend to get their attention.

Some have suggested this is a smear campaign. My question for those people is “Why do we have laws? Why do they think we have the Hatch Act? Why, for God’s sake, would we not want to talk about this?” To raise the issue is not a smear tactic. It is about the rule of law and I am not being glib. Maybe some of these writers should aquaint themselves with the origins and purpose of the Hatch Act of 1939. Here is a link to get you started.

Now if I did work on Greg Fox’ campaign (and I do not) would that change anything? Would the Hatch Act not have become law in 1939? Would Mr. Livesay not have asked the OSC for an opinion? Would the Post not have written a story anyway? Would people not have been talking about it in political circles? You tell me. The Dead Rat was sitting in the middle of the room and no one wanted to talk about the smell. That is a figure of speach I often use- not a smear – which means we have an obvious problem and lets not pretend it doesn’t stink in here and ignore the smell. Lets do something about it.

The fact of the matter is that months before I posted this issue it had been talked about in political circles – repeatedly. If the question hadn’t been put to Mr. Livesay about the Hatch Act before I posted this question then I would be surprised, especially since questions of “conflict of interest” were brought up repeatedly as far back as February and they were brushed off. See my previous post on that topic. Despite the concerns expressed over and over again Mr. Livesay only asked the OSC for an opinion after the issue of the Hatch Act was raised by his critics (according to the Washington Post). I can’t take credit for raising the question. I am just the first person to write about it on the internet and now the one taking heat for it.

Does this episode put Mr. Livesay’s integrity in question? Maybe in some peoples minds. Not necessarily mine. It does make me question if he was using good judgement, and combined with other past actions I think Mr. Livesay shows a pattern of poor judgement. Which is consistent with my views on his candidacy from the beginning. I have made no secret of my disdain for Mr. Livesay’s campaign. I think it is outrageous and a mockery that he is running as a Republican.

A recent reader posted these questions.

“By the way….can somebody tell me why the Hatch Act isn’t applicable to elected politicans already in office?”

It is – especially at the Federal Level. Go to and you will find many cases that they have enforced. I have already written about the Deputy Police Chief in the City of Henderson, Nevada. You can also read about the Mayor of Atlantic City, and many others.

“How can the sitting Sheriff run while continuing to hold his office? Let’s be fair about this! ”

I have asked the same question. In fact I asked it of the press when I talked to them. They didn’t know either. Good question.

“Secondly, the issue of soliciting employees…does the County Executive solicit county employees in his campaign, do the standing council members solicit people in the businesses they work in full time….does the Sheriff, State’s Attorney, etc.solicit their employees? I bet they do!”

If they do they shouldn’t. Neither should Mr. Livesay. If you have more information I would like to write about it.

The writer closed with this “After reading posts like this, I’m almost ashamed to call myself a Howard County Republican.”

The outrage of Mr. Livesay’s party switch in 2002 and back again in 2006 so he can improve his chances in a Republican district, that he will probably get away with the mockery, combined with such a glib attitude toward the Hatch Act, conflict of interest concerns, and raising money from his subordinates, missteps in the Howard County Police Department (which I have already detailed on this blog) I would tend to agree with the writer. What real Republican would want to support a candidate with those credentials? For that matter what Democrat would?

What I am happy about is that the issue is being talked about which is the purpose of this blog. As a result I don’t think we will have another Hatch Act story in Howard County for a long long time (everyone is on notice), and if, as the reader suggests, other candidates are soliciting money, time, or in kind donations from their employees they will think twice about it in the future because their are four Howard County Bloggers willing to write about it if they do.


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