From the Annals of Blatant Self-Interest: Del. Pat McDonough has a bill prohibiting his opponent from running for office unless he leaves his job. McDonough faces Md’s Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer in the Republican primary for Baltimore County executive. pic.twitter.com/YWMWiopGm8
Setting aside for a moment the horrific grammar in that press release that makes it sound like it was written by a small child, let’s take a look at the bill itself, HB 1576, which was heard today.
The synopsis of the bill:
Requiring the head of a State governmental unit to vacate the position before becoming a candidate for a public office; prohibiting the head of a State governmental unit from engaging in certain campaign finance activities or being a candidate for public office while serving as the head of the unit; etc.
Let’s be brutally honest; there is nothing wrong with the bill. The bill itself is fine. I think many people would agree with the idea that cabinet secretaries or department heads should have to step down if they want to be candidates for office.
But let’s talk about the true reality of this bill. McDonough is introducing this bill because his opponent in the Republican primary for Baltimore County Executive, Al Redmer, is also the Maryland Insurance Commissioner. Something that McDonough’s own press release clearly points out, spending three sentences on how the Insurance Commissioner “regulates everybody in Maryland.” McDonough calling on Redmer to resign isn’t new, he’s been doing it since October.
(I’ll point out here that in some states, the Insurance Commissioner is an elected office, and one that Democrats in Maryland have suggested should be an elective office in Maryland too, but I digress)
What’s truly galling, however, is the fact that McDonough introduced his legislation as Emergency Legislation. Emergency legislation requires a 3/5 vote in both house of the General Assembly, and Emergency Legislation can come into effect immediately. But it also means the bill includes this hilarity in Section 2:
SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act is an emergency measure, is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety, has been passed by a yea and nay vote supported by three–fifths of all the members elected to each of the two Houses of the General Assembly, and shall take effect from the date it is enacted.
Pat McDonough has some nerve introducing a bill as emergency legislation that “is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety” when in reality the only person who directly benefits from this legislation is Pat McDonough, who clearly understands that he is likely going to be easily defeated by Al Redmer in the upcoming primary.
The only reason that Pat McDonough thinks this is an emergency is that he realizes his 40-year political career is almost over.
Ultimately this bill is going nowhere for a variety of reasons. One, as an emergency piece of legislation, it will not have the time to make it through the committee process, receive 3/5 of the vote in both chambers, and be signed by the Governor in time for it to make any difference. Secondly, the likelihood of Governor Hogan signing this bill that would impact his own Insurance Commissioner at this juncture is rather low. Third, the bill’s existence as an “emergency” bill is downright laughable. And finally, the bill has a sponsor problem; this bill might have a much better chance if the lead sponsor on it was anybody not named Pat McDonough.
This bill is going to do the one thing it was designed to do; get McDonough’s hangers-on and Facebook warriors riled up and to give McDonough an excuse when he loses.
Just another reminder that Pat McDonough is a creature of the political swamp that he claims to want to drain.