Our Maryland: Propaganda for the Maryland Democratic Party Establishment
Our Maryland is a so-called progressive “online multi-issue education and advocacy organization” that ostensibly exists to “promotes progressive ideals”
In reality, Our Maryland is nothing more than a propaganda rag for the Maryland Democratic Party establishment. It appears to be created to co-opt the progressive insurgency within the left flank of the Democratic Party. Our Maryland is staffed by Maryland Democratic Party operatives, is part of the national Democratic Party’s web of dark money, and continuously promotes the Maryland Democratic Party line.
Progressives, who care about education, not just toeing the teacher’s union line, the influence of big money in politics, gerrymandering, and deplore the corrupt machine politics of the Maryland Democratic Party bosses, won’t find much on these subjects from Our Maryland’s web and social media offerings.
Big Money/Dark Money
Our Maryland is an affiliate of ProgressNow. ProgressNow, a is a national umbrella group of online state progressive advocacy groups that claim it is a “progressive rather than partisan” education and advocacy group. But Our Maryland’s online fare is decidedly partisan in nature.
Identified in NPR’ Secret Money project, ProgressNow has enjoyed generous funding from the left’s web of dark money backers including George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance and Open Society Institute. Founded by former DNC and Clinton operative, Rob Stein, The Democracy Alliance, included among its board of directors includes Executive Committee members of the Democratic National Committee, the head of the National Education Association, and the president of government employees union AFSCME.
In addition to progressive dark money funding, ProgressNow is also the beneficiary of lavish funding from labor unions. The most recent report filings from the U.S. Department of Labor reveal that ProgressNow received $25,000 from SEIU, $150,000 from and, and $575,000 from AFSCME.
By way of pure coincidence, we’re sure, Our Maryland breathlessly retweets AFSCME’s perpetual protests against Governor Hogan
We also note the hypocrisy of Our Maryland bemoaning the lift on aggregate caps and how it “benefits the wealthy”, while it is parent organization is funded by wealthy donors and well-heeled Democratic special interests.
It’s not big money in politics that Our Maryland doesn’t like; it’s their opposition’s money they don’t like.
We won’t know the true source of Our Maryland’s funding, as they appeared on the scene earlier this year, and IRS and Department of Labor disclosures and reporting forms this year are not available unless Our Maryland wants to practice true transparency and disclose its donors. We won’t hold our breath for that level of transparency, as it would rightly undermine its credibility with progressives who abhor money’s influence on politics.
We will be watching and reporting on that information when it becomes available.
Tellingly, Our Maryland’s staff consists of Maryland Democratic Party operatives.
Our Maryland’s spokesman is Patrick Murray, the former Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party. Murray is a former aide to the party’s longtime bosses, Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House, Mike Busch.
Mike Miller’s deposition in the legal challenge to the Maryland Democrats’ unconscionable gerrymandering, revealed that Murray was played key role for Miller in the redistricting process and conducted that official state business through his personal email account.
We wonder how our progressive friends, who care deeply about ending gerrymandering and fairly drawn congressional and legislative districts, feel about that.
Our Maryland boasts a “Digital Fellow,” Anna Primosch, who writes most of the site’s content. Primosch just happens to be a former “special assistant” to the Executive Director of Maryland Democratic Party. According to her LinkedIn account, she conducted opposition and surrogate research for the Maryland Democratic Party, and then went on to work for Murray when he left the state party to run Chris Van Hollen’s Senate Campaign.
Sins of Omission
For an alleged grassroots progressive outfit, Our Maryland has been curiously silent on three major scandals involving public education in Maryland.
Not a peep from Our Maryland on the independent audit that showed Prince George’s County schools changed grades for 5,500 students so they could graduate, and high percentages of graduates with unlawful absences.
Nor has Our Maryland’s mentioned the appalling fact that 13 Baltimore City High Schools had zero students proficient in math.
When the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun reported on the play-to-play scandal between Baltimore County Public School officials and tech companies receiving lucrative contracts, Our Maryland’s merry band of Facebook Warriors and Twitter trolls couldn’t find their keyboards.
Nor has Our Maryland mentioned the second indictment of state senator Nathaniel Oaks for obstruction of justice in his federal bribery case, or the corruption cases in Prince George’s County.
Why does a purported progressive group that cares about “holding public officials and government accountable” not opine on these crystal clear cases of bad actors?
The reason for Our Maryland’s silence on these issues couldn’t possibly be that they represent the failures of jurisdictions under Democratic political control, could it?
That they reflect poorly on Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, both of whom are running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018 couldn’t possibly be a reason for their silence.
After all, a true non-partisan progressive voice of the people would decry such malfeasance with full-throated denunciations.
The machine hacks running the Our Maryland know that would reflect poorly on the bosses.
Thumb on the Scale for Johnny O?
Our Maryland also appears to be playing in the Democratic primary for Baltimore County Executive.
Earlier this month, Pat Murray penned a hit piece op-ed in the Baltimore Sun aimed at state Senator Jim Brochin, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed Kamenetz as county executive. Murray criticized Brochin for rightly voting against the Democrat machine’s job-killing paid sick leave bill, which Governor Hogan rightly vetoed.
The Sun failed to identify Murray as a spokesman for Our Maryland, only listing his past employment as Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party and his stint as an aide the Miller and Busch.
Perhaps the Sun didn’t mention Murray’s work for Our Maryland in relation to his “former” positions, as that would have been redundant.
Interestingly enough, eight days later, Our Maryland provided Brochin’s primary opponent Johnny Olszewski space on their site to opine on the mythical virtues of the job-killing paid sick leave bill.
Our Maryland couldn’t possibly be the vehicle through which the Maryland Democratic Party machine bosses attack a maverick Democrat, who doesn’t cow-tow to the bosses? Progressives allegedly eschew such skullduggery.
Dark money, recycled partisan hacks, protecting establishment candidates, stealth involvement in a marquee primary contest: Our Maryland is not an avatar of grassroots progressivism, it’s the Maryland Democratic machine catfishing progressives.
The old bulls of the Maryland Democratic machine aren’t simply going to hand over power in the party to the insurgent progressives seeking to oust them.
No, they’re going to co-opt the progressive insurgency for their own ends.