O’Malley Endorses Sign Stealing Antics

The sign-stealing saga in the Democratic Primary for State Senate in District 42 continues to become a more and more sordid affair.

J. Ronald DiJuliis, husband to primary challenger Connie DiJuliis, has now been charged with theft along with two other accomplices for stealing signs belonging to incumbent State Senator Jim Brochin. Normally, that’s a story in and of itself. But of course in this case Ronald DiJuliis is a high-ranking appointee in the O’Malley Administration, serving as the Commissioner of Labor and Industry.

As first reproted at the Quinton Report, Baltimore County Republican Central Committee Chairman John Fiastro, has demanded the resignation of DiJuliis:

“If Mr. DeJuliis feels it’s alright to break the law to advance the political career of a family member, he shows a total lack of judgement,” said John Fiastro, Jr., head of the Republican group. “Such a criminal act disqualifies him from serving the citizens of Maryland as Labor Commissioner. He should resign. He is not fit to serve.”

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Now nobody actually expctes Ron DiJuliis to resign. A guy who was brazen enough to steal a campaign side in broad daylight is probably not going to be inclined to do the honorable thing. However, what’s really intersesting has been the O’Malley Administration’s reaction to all of this. Or should I say lack of a reaction:

Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, said Monday that O’Malley would not discuss how the issue might be handled internally calling it a personal and personnel issue. 

“We don’t comment on personal issues,” Smith said. “We don’t comment on issues performed after hours.”

Further complicating this matter for O’Malley is the fact that he has been active in this District 42 Democratic Primary. O’Malley has endorsed Connie DiJuliis in his effort to ditch Senator Brochin, who has not always toed the Democratic Party Line.

So to reacp:

  • The husband of a Senate candidate was caught red-handed stealing campaign signs;
  • The husband is a high-ranking appointee of Martin O’Malley;
  • The Governor has made no comment about this alleged criminal act; and,
  • The appointee’s wife has been endorsed in her primary challenge by the afroementioned Governor.
This is not one of those stories that happens in passing and just goes away on its own. This is not your typical sign stealing case. This is the case where a high-ranking administration appointee has been caught in the act during a contentious election where the Governor is involved. And as Quinton reports, this is not the first time such activities have surfaced in a Connie DiJuliis campaign:

In 1996, Connie DeJuliis ran against then-Congressman Bob Ehrlich. Multiple sources close to the Ehrhlich campaign then have noted that the Ehrlich campaign had an ongoing problem with campaign signs disappearing or being defaced with homophobic slurs. Additionally, these sources confirm that an Ehrlich campaign worker was threatened by a “union thug,” 

So there is a pattern of behavior at play here, too.
This is one of those times where silence is, in fact consent. Several days into this crisis and Governor O’Malley and his Administration have been extremely tight-lipped about it. I’m not sure what more there is to know here and the lack of reaction, especially during an election year and during a time in which O’Malley is preparing for a Presidential run, is both perplexing and disturbing.
The Baltimore County GOP was right to call on Ron DiJuliis to resign. But we should not be at this juncture. A responsible Governor, who was focused on providing quality service to our state with appointees of the highest standards of conduct, would have kicked DiJuliis to the curb as soon as the video of his activities started. But we don’t have that, and that can only lead me to one stark but sad conclusion; Governor Martin O’Malley must endorse these sign stealing antics. Otherwise, there is no logical reason why the Administration would be hoping for this story to get swept under the rug.
Another sad staetment on the culture of corruption and era of bad behavior that has been cultivated during the O’Malley Administration. 

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