In recent weeks, the campaign and supproters of State Senator David Brinkley have been hanging their hat on the fact that Senator Brinkley scored higher on the Maryland Business for Responsive Government Roll Call (MBRG) scorecard than his primary opponent Delegate Michael Hough. MBRG (who has been a sponsor of RMN programming in the past) gave Brinkley a 92, while giving Red Maryland endorsed challenger Hough an 83.
While we often agree with how MBRG sees things, they aren’t always the best arbiter of who is or is not conservative, and this race shows that point. The biggest diference between Hough and Brinkley on the MBRG scorecard is their vote on HB 867, the False Claims Act. This is an obscure bill that most voters in District 4 had probably never heard of, but by this point you have seen references all over Brinkley’s campaign literature and from Brinkley’s supporters on social media about how Brinkley opposed the False Claims Act and Hough supported it. The MBRG descirbes the False Claims Act in this way:
Authorizes the state to impose treble damages, and fines up to $10,000 per violation, and costs, against businesses that seek false or fraudulent payment or approval from the State, a county, or Baltimore City (a “governmental entity”).
This issue has become contentious in Distirct 4, and Delegate Hough has had to defend himself from bizarre accusations that he has sided with trial lawyers for supporting this law. Brinkley and his supporters have been attacking Mike Hough for supporting a law that punishes people who try to get payments from the government in a fraudulent manner. I have absolutely no idea on what planet it is a conservative ideal to oppose harsher penalties for people who wish to defraud the people out of taxpayer funds. As Hough notes:
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“I am proud to stand with President Ronald Reagan and taxpayers in support of this important reform….
Recently, taxpayers were defrauded by a number of private contractors who wasted millions on a barely functioning Obamacare website…..
Maryland taxpayers were ripped off by these companies and we lost hundreds of millions of dollars. I believe the state should be able to sue to recover those funds. Senator David Brinkley on the other hand voted to spend over $200 million on Obamacare and then beats his chest that he defeated a bill that would have helped taxpayers get their money back.”
I can understand why Brinkley’s campaign would latch on to this scorecard and this discussion of the False Claim Act. It is one of the few metrics out there that would classify Brinkley as a legislator who is as or more conservative than Hough. A much better indicator of the conservativeness of their records would be the Monoblogue Accountability Project (MAP) scorecard. While we here at RM may not always see eye-to-eye with Michael Swartz, his scorecard is a much better barometer of supporting issues that matter to conservative grassroots volunteers and voters than the MBRG scorecard.
And on the MAP scorecard it isn’t even close: Delegate Hough scores an 84 with Senator Brinkley scoring a 56. While Delegate Hough only lost points for opposing marijuana decriminalization and voting for a law regarding littering, Senator Brinkley lost points for voting the wrong way on issues that actually matter to conservative voters, such as:
- Voting for The Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014;
- Voting for the Baltimore City Needle Exchange Program;
- Voting for the Energy-Efficient Homes Construction Loan Program;
- Voting to raise the penalty for Water Pollution Controls;
- Voting to allow Easements on Agricultural Land for Renewable Energy Generation;
- Voting to create a PARCC Implementation Workgroup;
- Voting for the bill to bring Maryland in compliance with Obamacare;
- Voting for the Bridge Bill to cover those impacted by the failure of Maryland’s Health Care exchange;
- Voting for the Governor’s Budget (again….);
- Voting for the Capital Budget (again…..);
- Voting for the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (again….).