June 20, 2011

Ehrlich fundraiser calls Henson hire ‘terrible mistake’; gov goes fishing and other briefs

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Ehrlich for governor signDick Hug, top fundraiser for ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich for his last three campaigns, said hiring campaign consultant Julius Henson was “a terrible mistake” and he and Elaine Pevenstein, executive director of  Ehrlich campaign office, argued against the hire.

Henson and campaign chief Paul Schurick were indicted Thursday for deceptive Election Day robocalls telling black voters to stay home. Hug said Henson’s reputation for dirty tricks was well known, particularly his role in depicting Republican nominee Ellen Sauerbrey as a racist in her 1998 race for governor.

Hug said he was not called to testify by the grand jury. Field operations director Chris Cavey was subpoenaed for a 45-minute session with the grand jury, but he was told at the time he was not a target of the investigation.  Cavey described his grand jury encounter as “a fishing expedition” by state prosecutors, who were intent on establishing all his cell phone numbers.

Cell phone calls between Schurick, Henson and others on Election Day were an important element of the indictments.

Hug and Cavey discussed the case Wednesday night before a talk by video attack man James O’Keefe at the Harbor League.

Hug said prosecutors had better things to do than pursue the robocall case, and that if the alleged infraction had involved a Democrat, it likely would not have been pursued.

The state prosecutor’s office is set up to pursue campaign law infractions and corruption by public officials. The current prosecutor, Emmet Davitt, was appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in November.

GOV GOES FISHING: Gov. Martin O’Malley and his two sons are off on a fishing trip this week, the first lady, Judge Katie O’Malley, told WBAL radio last week. This explains why there are no public events on the governor’s calendar this week.

CARSON, BRODY DEPART: Two bylines that have appeared scores of times in our daily State Roundup will be leaving the news business at the end of the month. Larry Carson, 66, longtime veteran of the Baltimore Sun and the Evening Sun, is retiring from his job as government reporter in Howard County. Alan Brody, who’s reported on the State House for the Gazette of Politics and Business, is leaving to take a job in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General. His responsibilities will include consumer outreach and education, along with some public relations and communications. Brody turns 31 Tuesday.

PETITION DRIVE: Monday was the deadline for the local boards of elections to finish validating the first round petitions to put the law granting in-state tuition to immigrant students on referendum. The drive has long passed its initial target, and as of Friday afternoon, the State Board of Elections reports that the petitioners have gathered 47,317 valid signatures. That means they only need about 10,000 more to be submitted in 10 days. But organizers are planning on collecting far more than that in case of challenges to some of the signatures.

–Len Lazarick
Len@MarylandReporter.com