Did O’Malley appoint an unregistered lobbyist to AA Board of Education?

Governor O’Malley appointed Tricia Johnson and Teresa Milio Birge to five-year stints on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education this past Tuesday, pending the approval of the voters in the ridiculously asinine process that the General Assembly set up for us. More details on their appointments in general here.

But did O’Malley appoint an unregistered lobbyist in Birge to the Board? Birge is listed by the Maryland Association of Senior Centers as their lobbyist. In her resume, Birge notes that for a “private client” she:

Manages government relations program for a state association; track and review legislation; draft amendments and testimony; draft oral and written testimony; testify before legislative committees on legislative and budget matters; facilitate meetings of members with legislators; conduct training for association members.

All of which sounds like the activities of a lobbyist. Except Birge is not registered as a lobbyist according to the Maryland State Ethics Commission, nor is the Maryland Association of Senior Centers listed as employing a lobbyist. And the summary of lobbying law seems to indicate that if Birge received more than $2,500 in personal compensation or if the MASC paid a lobbyist more than $2,500 in lobbying expenses, both should have had to register.

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The evidence seems to point to an unregistered Democratic lobbyist being appointed to the Board of Education. I’m not exactly sure how flouting ethics laws makes Anne Arundel County’s new appointment process a success, though is does give us the opportunity to right this wrong at the ballot box in November.


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