Follow The Money.... ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follow The Money....

While home sick with a cold, CP started perusing the campaign finance reports for city officials/candidates. I am just pulling out a few observations, so don't expect a full blown report. Neither you nor my sponsors pay me enough for that service. It is all available on the city's web site.
A few things jump out, namely that both current office holders and some non-office holders are raising money. What for? I've asked that a lot. Are they declared or not? It's just that I am bothered by this constant fundraising. Mayor Moyer has a lot of cash on hand, and you may notice the chicken-scrawled handwriting on her reports. Why does she need this money? I've asked this before. I think the reason is so she can continue to have influence. Duhh...d'ya think? So why would anyone continue to give money to this highly unpopular lame duck on her way out? Duhh...d'ya think?
Then there is Trudy McFall, who has been raising big bucks--mainly in large chunks and almost all from people out of the city. Frank Flyntz who IS running for mayor and has a web-site, did not file a report back in June.
Again, this is not a scientific study but merely some observations.
Dick Israel, a putative mayoral candidate has a donor list that reads like a who's who of Ward One, and mainly in smaller denominations, suggesting strong local support. Sheila Finlayson and Classie Hoyle both manage to pull in big bucks from outside the city, and Hoyle's list is conspicuously populated by businesses, law firms and developers. Similarly for Zina Pierre, another putative mayoral candidate, who paid over $3000 for a web-site...but where is her site? Has she declared? Does she really live on McGuckian St. or is she in Mitchellville as other official web documents purport?
Candidates give back and forth to each other, and it's normal. Candidate A sends $100 to candidate B or to official C who sends $100 to candidate A or B or whatever. That's a bit of a revolving door but it does not seem inappropriate--or doers it? If I give to Candidate A to elect him or her, do I want him to give to Candidate B to elect him or her? It's a scratch my back kind of thing--and CP benefited from such support from others when he ran for alderman. However I sought and received only a small amount of money for very specific campaigning purposes and when the campaign ended, it had all been expended as such and I closed the account. This business of building "war chests" is questionable (war chests?).
Free State Press, a printing business on West Street is the beneficiary of much of the campaign expenditures. Owner Jim Martin, a peripatetic and visible civic activist for Green and Democratic candidates and many community issues no doubt has attracted a loyal following due to his activism, having a union shop--as well as being a fine printer.
See follow the money to find what is of interest to you. Look at the average and the largest donations, see who and where they originated. Look at the ratio between candidates of local donors versus out of city donors. See if you recognize the names. Make out of it what you can.
And then look at what they spend, and for what. Alderwoman Hoyle for example has given some campaign money to scholarships and for expressions of sympathy. I think that she come from her personally. And again... Duhh...d'ya think? But is this right? If I gave money to a candidate, I would want it to help them get elected....oohhh...duhh...d'ya think? So that's why she sends expressions of sympathy from her campaign funds.
So we need to know what are the restrictions on how candidates spend their money. And finally, in nearly every report, almost every candidate has some anomaly or omission, and usually it's a minor thing such as filing a few days late or a mathematical error or a miscoding. The outside accounting firm just mentions and then brushes them off. Alderman Shropshire apparently has not yet filed his report, now many months overdue. This is because his basement was flooded while he was away, but, he still is required to have this filed. While I sympathize with his situation, I must ask if this excuses it or keeps him from some sort of chastisement or penalty? I think the answer is no, it does not. Perhaps if his records had been in plastic bags instead of just on paper, this would have been averted.

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