Democratic Flack: Heal Thyself
Please allow me to introduce you to Democratic flack Lis Smith. In addition to being former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer’s girlfriend she is a paid spokeswoman for Governor Martin O’Malley and the Democratic Governors Association. According to the DGA financial disclosures dating back to 2011, Smith earned $120,000 in salary and consulting fees. Governor O’Malley served as Chairman of the DGA from 2011-2012, and Finance Chair in 2013.
Smith—ever the dutiful operative—is an ardent Twitter critic of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and fawning O’Malley sycophant. Yesterday Smith took Twitter to bashing Christie for cutting payments to the state pension system to balance his state’s budget.
Apparently lost on Smith is the fact that her boss, O’Malley, also cut pension payments in Maryland by $100 million to “balance” Maryland’s budget. Apparently Smith is also ignorant of the fact that O’Malley has left his successor a $400 million structural deficit, which may very well turn out to be even larger.
Does she even know of O’Malley’s other budget balancing gimmicks, which include running up the state credit card by raiding cash in special funds and replacing it with bond debt, like the $868 million in transportation trust fund dollars he used to pay for other stuff.
Smith also retweeted a piece by liberal scribe David Sirota detailing the lavish subsidies the Christie administration gave to Christie’s Republican Governor’s Association donors.
Pot. Kettle. Black.
I wonder what Smith thinks of O’Malley using DGA donations in a play-to-play scheme with state contractors. Between 2011 and 2013 companies doing business with Maryland donated over $5.7 million to the DGA, while receiving over $4.4 billion in state contracts.
- The troubled Maryland Health Benefit Exchange hired Optum QSSI, to fix the state’s broken Obamacare exchange. Optum QSSI is a subsidiary of United Health Group, a $650,000 donor to the DGA during O’Malley’s tenure. United Health also sells insurance on the Maryland exchange. Maryland has paid United Health Group more than $2 billion in state contracts. Optum QSSI’s Vice President for Government Affairs, Steve Larsen is former chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, appointed by O’Malley;
- Several subsidiaries of Beowulf Energy, which employs O’Malley’s former chief of staff, Michael Enright, donated $70,000 to the DGA. One subsidiary, Colorado Energy donated $30,000 and received approval to build a solar farm on the grounds of a former state prison a month after making the donation. Beowulf is also one of the companies vying to build wind farms off the coast of Maryland. Enright was a proponent of O’Malley’s signature offshore wind legislation;
- Caesar’s Entertainment donated $50,000 to the DGA in 2011 and doubled that amount in 2012. In late 2012, Maryland awarded Caesar’s the contract to build a $310 million casino in Baltimore.
See the rest of the DGA donations by state contractors.
Disclosure: I was paid to compile the information for this Change Maryland report.