Want to Investigate Speed Cameras and Health Exchange? Start With the Lobbyists
Earlier this week WBAL TV investigative reporter Jayne Miller reported that Xerox State and Local Solutions, the same vendor that previously operated Baltimore City’s troubles speed camera program, also received $5 million from the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the state’s floundering Obamcare exchange website.
Miller also noted, “Xerox has a health care division, and one of its lobbyists is a former top aide to Gov. Martin O’Malley.”
That former aide would be Sean Malone, who along with his wife Lisa Harris Jones, run the politically connected lobbying firm of Harris Jones & Malone. Malone served as chief legal counsel for the Baltimore City Police and city labor commissioner under then Mayor Martin O’Malley. Lisa Harris Jones is a close personal friend of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Rawlings-Blake officiated Harris Jones and Malone’s lavish Las Vegas wedding last May.
ACS State and Local solutions, which Xerox later acquired, hired Harris Jones & Malone to lobby for the state to adopt speed cameras, and eventually was the sole bidder for the program.
According to state lobbying reports for the years 2011-2013, Xerox hired Malone, Harris Jones, and their colleague Catlin McDonough, daughter of Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough, to lobby both the legislature and the executive agencies on matters of “Information Technology.”
Rawlings-Blake criticized an outside consultant’s audit of Xerox’s management of the Baltimore speed camera system. That audit revealed camera error rates 40 times higher than what city officials told the public. Rawlings-Blake dismissed the results saying the independent firm as “not sufficiently qualified” to perform the review.
Legislative leaders in the Democratically controlled General Assembly moved to squelch any special investigation into the botched health exchange rollout, prompting the editorial boards of both the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post to accuse the Democratic machine of dodging responsibility for the mess in order to protect its chosen gubernatorial candidate in November’s election, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. Brown was in charge of the rollout and prior to its launch bragged that it would be a national model.
It’s no surprise that Maryland’s ruling Democratic oligarchs don’t want any investigation into the botched health exchange rollout and that Mayor Rawlings-Blake is blasting a negative audit of Baltimore’s speed cameras. A full accounting of both issues would reveal the crony capitalism of the Banana Republic of Maryland.