New MDDems Executive Director was at center of Super PAC Scandal
Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews on Wednesday announced the hiring of a new executive director and a digital communication manager.
Stephanie Potter, the new executive director, is a former aide to Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and most recently was executive director of Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic senate candidates. Brittany Oliver, the new digital manager, worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland as police accountability program coordinator.
This won’t surprise most of you; the Maryland Democratic Party has had a revolving door of staff members the last two years, changing Executive Directors like most people change their oil. The most interesting of these hires is the appointment of Stephanie Potter. Ignoring for a second her work for a left-wing comedian like Franken, Potter also worked for the Senate Majority PAC. The PAC was ostensibly designed to elect more Democrats to the US Senate. Instead, it was embroiled at the center of the first major Super PAC scandal:
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The federal bribery case against Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey marks the first time large-scale super PAC donations have figured prominently as evidence of a political corruption scheme, renewing questions about how truly independently such groups operate.
The 22-count indictment against Menendez and wealthy Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen hinges in part on $600,000 that Melgen gave to the Senate Majority PAC — a Democratic super PAC — earmarked to support the senator’s 2012 reelection.
Senate Majority PAC officials have not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the Justice Department argued in the court filing that the donations were among the things of value Melgen offered Menendez so the senator would use his position to help get the donor’s girlfriends visas to enter the country and to influence government officials to help Melgen’s businesses….
…In a statement, Stephanie Potter, executive director of Senate Majority PAC, said that Melgen was “one of hundreds of donors supporting Senate Majority PAC’s mission of electing Democrats to the US Senate.”
“Nothing in today’s indictment casts doubt on the lawfulness of Senate Majority PAC, its actions, or its mission,” she said. “The FEC has specifically held that super PACs may accept contributions earmarked for particular races — and indeed, they routinely do.”
Potter noticeably excludes her involvement with the Senate Majority PAC on her official Maryland Democratic Party bio.
While Potter herself may not have been implicated in the scandal, it shows a disturbing consistency with Maryland Democrats and national scandals involving Maryland Democrats. Remember that it was under former Governor Martin O’Malley’s that the Democratic Governor’s Association accepted large donations from companies with business before the state of Maryland.
While it shouldn’t surprise anybody at this point, the Maryland Democratic Party continues to associate themselves with fundraising scandals. How can voters trust them to act in an ethical manner when they continue to surround themselves with folks involved in such scandals?
The Maryland Democratic Party should come clean about these scandals. And Ms. Potter should state, for the record, what he role was in the Senate Majority PAC scandal, what she knew about the donations involving Senator Menendez, and when she knew it.