Story updated to include disclosure form
Everyone already knew that 6th Congressional District candidate John Delaney was rich and a major Democratic Party donor. On Friday he released the disclosure forms that documented his wealth and on Monday he got one of the biggest endorsements any Democrat could covet -- from former President Bill Clinton.
The disclosure forms, which report assets and income in ranges, show Delaney with his family trusts and retirement accounts is worth $51 million to $278 million. He and his family trusts earned $1.3 million to $10.2 last year.
A Feb. 1 press release issued by his campaign said Delaney and his wife earned an average of $14.5 million per year over the last several years, but the Delaney camp did not divulge their candidate’s 2011 income. Referencing tax returns that the campaign gave exclusively to the Washington Post, the release said:
“The returns show that on average, John and April Delaney had $14.5 million of adjusted gross income ($11.2 million in taxable income), they made $2.7 million in annual charitable contributions and paid $2 million in taxes. The total charitable contributions were $20 million during the seven year period, which went to educational related matters, community services, and other organizations.”
Delaney filed his personal financial disclosure statement Thursday under an extension granted to him in mid-January by the U.S. House Ethics Committee.
Garagiola attacks wealth, lobbyist connections
Delaney’s primary opponent, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, has been unrelenting in pointing out Delaney’s wealth since the race began. Much of it is held in the stock of the financial companies he founded and continues to run.
On the same day Delaney filed his disclosure, Garagiola’s camp hit Delaney with a YouTube video attack that shows the banker arriving and departing the headquarters of Washington’s largest lobbying firm, Patton Boggs. The firm hosted a high dollar fundraiser for Delaney Feb. 29.
In the video, Delaney referred to Patton Boggs partners as his “friends.” His own campaign has harshly criticized Garagiola for his contributions from State House and congressional lobbyists. The Delaney camp also uncovered Garagiola’s failure to report income from federal lobbying and law firms on required state disclosure forms.
After the video came out, the Delaney camp fired back with a statement calling out Garagiola’s camp for incorrectly accusing Delaney of contributing to former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, a Republican. The contributions were made by other donors named John Delaney.
Clinton and the Sierra Club endorse
On Monday, both campaigns announced new endorsements -- Delaney’s campaign boasting support from former President Bill Clinton and Garagiola from the Sierra Club.
In a statement, Clinton said: "John Delaney is a lifelong Democrat who has real life job creation experience, he’s a progressive business leader with a long record of civic activism and charitable causes. His commitment to equality, economic growth and fairness will make him an effective advocate for the middle class, a strong advocate for job creation, and a trusted ally for reform."
The Sierra Club joined a long line of unions and Maryland elected officials that have endorsed Garagiola.
“In the Maryland State Senate, Rob Garagiola has been a champion for creating green jobs and building a renewable energy industry in our state. He’s been a strong defender of our environment and protecting our natural resources,” said David O’Leary, chair of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club. “Rob Garagiola is the only candidate in both the primary and the general election who has a proven track record of protecting our environment.”
Dr. Milad Pooran, another 6th District Democratic candidate, was recently endorsed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as well as the co-chairs of the Progressive Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House, Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Raul Grijalva of Arizona.
Stache Act stumbles
Also making news last week was the mystery behind Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s alleged support for a $250 mustache maintenance tax deduction pushed by the American Mustache Institute. The Weekly Standard on Feb. 28 first reported the story which revealed that Bartlett’s staff had forwarded the proposal to the tax writing House Ways and Means Committee, but without Bartlett’s comment either way on the merits of the bill.
District 6 Republican opponent, Del. Kathy Afzali, followed with a statement calling Bartlett “out of touch.”
In a Feb. 29 Washington Post article, Bartlett’s chief of staff indicated that Press Secretary Lisa Wright forwarded the “white paper,” the technical term for the proposed tax measure, in response to a media inquiry.
“There was no bill, only a white paper that was sent by Lisa Wright, press secretary, as a media inquiry to the committee staff without Congressman Bartlett’s knowledge or permission,” chief of staff Deborah Burrell told the Post in a statement.
The story went viral and the spokesperson from the American Mustache Institute began to backpedal on an earlier statement scolding Bartlett for reversing his support.
In an interview with MarylandReporter.com on Friday, a Mustache Institute spokesman, Aaron Perlut said while he cannot say that Bartlett ever supported the measure, the media request they made was to interview the congressman on camera during President’s Day week, when Congress was out of session.
The congressman was unavailable, but Perlut was told the white paper had been sent to Ways and Means and he said Bartlett’s staff was very positive about it.
Perlut blames Bartlett’s opponents for going after him, calling them “silly challengers and distasteful.” He also said Bartlett’s office did a “horrendous job” managing a crisis.
Wright said she does not recall speaking or dealing with Perlut. She dismissed the white paper submission as an intended joke and said Bartlett never supported it.
Since that interview, the Mustache Institute posted a new statement on their website referring to Bartlett’s opponents as “vulturous” and calling Wright’s actions “a simple act of kindness.”
Also last week, a rumor surfaced in Annapolis that state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney, former state senator and Bartlett staffer, would soon become Bartlett’s chief of staff. Mooney denied the rumor though he did say he would be leaving his current position in April, but he was not interested in the long commute between his home in Frederick and Bartlett’s Capitol Hill office.
The campaign this week
The Montgomery Political Forum – a group that meets the first Wednesday of every month in Rockville - will feature five 6th Congressional District Democratic candidates on March 7 at 12:30 p.m. at the Rockville Library. To confirm elected officials attending or for more information, contact Holly Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Frederick County 6th Congressional District Republican debate will be held Thursday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Taney Road American Legion. Rep. Bartlett has confirmed his attendance if he is not held up in Washington for a vote.
Candidates from both parties will participate in a debate sponsored by AARP and MarylandReporter.com on March 25 at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.