Monthly Archives: April 2012

Today is the Big Day: Who will be the next Natioanl Committeewoman Ambrose or Scott?

Audrey Scott - MD ModerateToday is the big Day where the MDGOP Faithful will choose, one of two options, moving forward and looking towards the future or looking backwards to its past.

I was at the Holiday Inn Conference Center Hotel in Solomons, Maryland; I visited all of the important Hospitalities.  I visited both Audrey Scott and Nicole Ambrose’s hospitality suites.  I must say the crowd in Nicolee Ambrose’s suite was upbeat   enthusiastic and warmness.  While on contras Mrs. Scott’s Hospitality was stogy and hum drum.  I met with many Ambrose and Scott supporters.  The Ambrose supporters feel Nicolee would be the best to represent the Next Generation, with her youthful Energy.  Mrs. Scott’s supporters feel this is an entitlement a reward, like a gold watch you receive after years of service.



Audrey Scott the Fictional Fundraiser, Part II – From Cross Purposes Blog –

Audrey Scott - MD Moderatefrom Cross Purposes Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Audrey Scott the Fictional Fundraiser, Part II

On April 12th, National Committeewoman wannabe Audrey Scott spoke to a group in Frederick. A copy of the audio from her 8 minute presentation was just shared with me. Click here to hear it. (Apologies, but the audio quality is a little low).

There’s not too much out of the ordinary here, although I did note that Mrs. Scott took the opportunity to repeat two questionable claims about her fundraising record as MD GOP chair.
First, at the 6:09 mark: “We had two staff members and they had not been paid for five months.”
She made a similar statement in her debate with Nicolee Ambrose in MontgomeryCounty. I addressed it in this blog post.
Next, at the 6:43 mark: “And by the end of the year, I had raised $1.5 million dollars.”
Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz has taken an exhaustive look at Mrs. Scott’s fundraising claims. He found that the $1.5 million fundraising claim is a gross exaggeration, and that Mrs. Scott raised half that amount at best. This does not include the so-called RNC Victory Fund monies – claimed by Mrs. Scott to total $1 million, but in reality aid from the RNC totaled no more than about $356,000 depending upon how you calculate it.  
To quote Ronald Reagan: “Facts are stubborn things.”

Poll: Who would you like to be our next National Committeewoman?

Get Ready This week for Bob Ehrlich’s Endorsement of Audrey Scott

Governor Robert EhrlichIf it follows the pattern of the typical Bob Ehrlich – Lawrence Scott campaign, most likely Ehrlich’s endorsement will come in the form of a robocall coming later this week to Nicolee Audrey Scott - MD ModerateAmbrose supporters on the State Central Committee :

“Nicolee Ambrose and Alex Mooney have been successful.  We’re OK.  Relax.  Everything is fine.  There is no reason to go to Solomon Island for the Convention.”

But seriously, do Maryland Republicans really want to follow Bob Ehrlich’s lead anymore?

This past January it was revealed that he used $168,000 of leftover campaign funds to pay for defense attorneys for Paul Schurick, his longtime aide who was convicted on charges of electoral fraud rising out of Ehrlich’s failed run against Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2010.

Even worse, Bob Ehrlich continues to defend the criminal acts committed on his behalf.  “While I vehemently disagree with the decision from a Baltimore City jury, I do respect our legal system,” Ehrlich said in a statement after the verdict.   It makes you wonder.  If they are given a chance, would the Team Ehrlich members do the exact same things all over again?

An endorsement by Bob Ehrlich will clearly frame the choice for National Committeewoman as one between a moderate who again and again uses dirty tricks and “selective” truth telling to try to get ahead and an authentic conservative prepared to stand for our party’s principles.

Anti-Sprawl Hire Draws Criticism

Audrey Scott - MD ModerateAudrey Scott’s vocal endorsement this year of her son’s Lawrence Scott’s political consulting clients, David Brinkley and Richard Douglas, is not the first time she has engaged in the “Prince George’s County Way” of pay to play in order to advance her family’s business interests.  In 2006, Audrey got caught by the press when hired her son’s former political consulting client to a $65,000 a year job he had no background.

The Scotts’ were embarrassed enough to try to cover up the connection, by routing a $4,000 payment through “Scott Strategies Inc.” owned by Francine Scott, Lawrence Scott’s wife and Audrey Scott’s daughter in law. The ruse was intended to allow Lawrence to attempt to publicly deny the connection to Doug Burkhardt.

Inquiring minds want to know, if James Shalleck had only agreed in 2010 to hire Lawrence Scott (excuse me, “Scott Strategies Inc.” owned by Francine Scott), can there be any doubt that Shalleck would have been the Republican candidate for Attorney General?

Anti-sprawl hire draws criticism

Smart Growth chief lacks experience, advocates say


The appointment of an Annapolis businessman to coordinate Maryland’s pioneering Smart Growth efforts is drawing criticism from managed-growth advocates who contend he has insufficient planning experience and that his hiring indicates the Ehrlich administration is not committed to fighting sprawl.

Douglas Burkhardt, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican last year for the Annapolis city council, began work Monday as the new head of the Office of Smart Growth in Maryland’s Department of Planning.

Planning Secretary Audrey E. Scott said in an interview that she hired Burkhardt because he has “the right combination of skills and experience” for the Smart Growth post, which has been vacant for more than three months.

During his campaign, Burkhardt said he was president and owner of the Monticello Group, an Annapolis consulting firm he runs with his wife that specializes in information technology and mortgages. On the firm’s Web site, Burkhardt says he has more than 20 years of sales and management experience in the technology and computer software industry.

Burkhardt, reached by telephone Friday afternoon, said he was going into a meeting and had no time to talk. He did not return that call or subsequent ones.

Scott said her decision to hire him was not influenced by his association with her son, Lawrence Scott, who helped Burkhardt with his campaign for Ward 1 alderman.

“He was sent to me by the [governor’s] appointments office, and I thought he fit the bill,” Audrey Scott said of Burkhardt. She described him as “very personable, very articulate” and said his background in mortgage financing brings a much-needed business perspective to the state planning agency.

Managed-growth advocates, however, questioned Burkhardt’s qualifications to lead the state’s Smart Growth efforts, which attempt to encourage development in and around existing communities. Smart Growth gained national prominence when launched in the late 1990s under Gov. Parris N. Glendening, and similar anti-sprawl efforts have caught on in other states.

“Clearly this administration is not taking Smart Growth seriously,” said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, which advocates more compact development around the state. “How can they have, as the head of the Office of Smart Growth, somebody who has no experience in the issue?”

She called Burkhardt’s hiring “another sign that this administration is not doing anything to stop poorly planned development.”

“This does not seem to bode well for the state’s Smart Growth program,” said Dan Pontious, regional policy director of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association. “If this is the state’s top person on the Smart Growth issue, you would hope they have some experience in growth planning,”

The Office of Smart Growth, which once reported directly to the governor, was folded into the planning department after Ehrlich took office, and virtually all of its staff have since quit or been fired. The deputy director’s job that Burkhardt is assuming has been vacant since October, when Sam Bradner left to go to work for Struever Bros. Eccles and Rouse in Providence, R.I.

Burkhardt earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Frostburg State University in 1980, according to a school spokesman, and he took graduate business classes at the University of Maryland, according to a brief campaign biography published last fall by The Sun.

Scott said that although he lacks a degree in planning, he took courses in it.

“I think he understands the mortgage market and real estate, which is a real plus for Smart Growth,” said the planning secretary. “It’s something we didn’t have in-house.” His salary is about $65,000, she said.

Lawrence Scott advised Burkhardt and several other candidates in last year’s municipal elections in Annapolis, according to published reports and two council candidates.

The Capital in Annapolis reported in October that Scott, an Annapolis lawyer, was helping several candidates, including Burkhardt, though Scott told the paper he wasn’t a paid consultant. Burkhardt’s campaign finance reports show he paid $4,000 to Scott Strategies Inc., a firm owned by Francine Scott, Lawrence Scott’s wife. Campaign reports indicate the firm provided “promotional items” and “printed materials.”

Richard D. Israel, who defeated Burkhardt in the race for Ward 1 alderman, said that Burkhardt introduced Scott to him at a council meeting. Debbie Rosen McKerrow, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat to represent Ward 2, said that Scott was introduced on another occasion as campaign adviser to Burkhardt and other candidates.

Audrey Scott said neither her son nor his wife, Francine, ever communicated with her about hiring Burkhardt.

“Neither one of them ever recommended him to me,” the planning secretary said. “They could have, but they never did. When I told them he was coming to work for me, they told me they didn’t know he was looking for a job, that he was job hunting.”

The Ehrlich administration has been criticized by managed-growth advocates, who accuse it of doing little to enforce the Smart Growth laws and policies, which discourage low-density development and focus state spending for schools, roads and other infrastructure on existing communities.

While supporting the policy in concept, Ehrlich has promoted his own Priority Places program, which has offered technical and regulatory help, but no funding, to a handful of redevelopment projects.

Scott said Burkhardt would be in charge of carrying out the Ehrlich administration’s Priority Places program.

“I wouldn’t have hired him if I didn’t think he could do the job and do it well,” she said.

From More observations on the RNC races

More observations on the RNC races

As I mentioned the other day we had our quad-county meeting earlier this week, where the members of the four Lower Shore GOP Central Committees (Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, and Dorchester) get together to discuss issues and find common ground. For the most part, this meeting (ably ran by John McCullough of Dorchester County) focused on the upcoming Spring Convention, including what was supposed to be a frank discussion of the two National Committee races.

In the runup to the meeting, we debated whether we should invite the candidates to speak or not. Three of the four county chairs decided to say no, while the other was neutral on the issue. Because of that consensus, none of the hopefuls was invited to speak; however Audrey Scott got her “wires crossed” in the words of McCullough and showed up anyway. It created an awkward scene where we had to have her leave the room so an open discussion could take place.

But before she left, she made sure to tell everyone not to believe what was read on this site. And while she was careful not to single me or my site out by name, I must say that I will abide a lot of things because I bend over backwards to be fair but I will not be called a liar. In fact, I have taken steps to have the information I was provided by several reliable sources disproved and if I find out it is so I will make the correction. As of this writing I’m awaiting the confirmation, after asking a person I frankly thought she threw under the bus when the subject was brought up.

Unfortunately for Audrey, some of her more fervent supporters adopted the same condescending tone Audrey adopted when she discussed what’s been said about her in the campaign. This was especially apparent when one (female) backer wondered aloud if Nicolee Ambrose could handle the position while having a family, ignoring the fact that many women who serve in politics already do so quite well. These supporters as a group believed Audrey’s experience sets her apart, and I won’t deny she’s experienced. But that’s not what the position needs at this time; instead it needs bold leadership and frankly I feel Audrey Scott will treat the post like a retirement gift from a grateful party.

And then we have several points brought up by quad-county members about Audrey’s actions: the Rule 11 controversy, attendance at the rally supporting the gas tax and her weak retort that she only attended the rally to support a bill to keep the Transportation Trust Fund from being raided, and of course the “unelectable” Roscoe Bartlett comment. I found it fascinating as well that, just hours after Roscoe announced his support of Nicolee Ambrose in the NCW race, Audrey Scott slapped up her own grainy picture with Bartlett, taken at the Montgomery County Lincoln Day Dinner last Friday. She also rehashed the “let’s get behind our nominees” mea culpa but the damage has been done.

I also found out, in speaking to some of those attending, that at least two of them who are listed as supporters of Audrey Scott have no intention of voting for her. Of course, Audrey mentioned she would be happy to remove any names from the list but who wants to ask about something like that? It’s almost embarrassing, but more importantly these admissions chip away at her facade of support she’s attempting to build.

Compared to the NCW discussion, the contest between Scott Shaffer and Louis Pope was rather mild. There were some who wanted the change and some who didn’t, but for the most part neither drew many negative remarks.

But I wanted to bring up something I was told today, as a letter from Louis Pope arrived in my mailbox. It proves one thing that Scott Shaffer brought up earlier this week and that I wasn’t sure of: Pope is indeed sending out re-election items paid for by the RNC (at least the stationery is, and presumably postage too.)

I’m not worried about the couple hundred dollars which the RNC may be giving to Pope for his re-election (although it is an important item to point out) as much as I’m interested in this line that Pope wrote:

Over the last decade I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for MDGOP and our local and statewide candidates here in Maryland, as well as presidential candidates.

I’ll take that at face value, particularly since Pope has led fundraising seminars in the past and has several entries on his political resume regarding fundraising for Bob Ehrlich, Michael Steele, and George W. Bush. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in a decade seems like a realistic amount.

Yet Audrey Scott claimed to raise $1.5 million for the MDGOP along with $1 million from the RNC for Victory Centers, all in the one year she was Chair. I’d be glad to believe that if the numbers were there, but as I dissected them last Sunday they are not. But even if she did, I quite frankly believe that her presence at the quad county meeting may have lost her more votes than she gained, particularly when the Allen West fundraiser that Nicolee Ambrose helped to organize was described in glowing terms. I don’t think MDGOP fundraising would suffer under Nicolee, particularly if she can bring those kinds of personalities to the state.

Out of a two-hour meeting, we spent well over an hour going back and forth about the National Committeewoman race. To me that points out the distinction between the two candidates, and I’ll be quite interested to see how the votes come out from the four counties involved in the quad-county meeting. Our votes may not mean a lot but they have to be earned, and coming down to attend a meeting where her opponent obeyed a specific request not to show up gives me the impression that Audrey Scott believes she’s entitled to be National Committeewoman because she’s served in the Republican Party at a high level for a long time.

I don’t believe in entitlements. I believe we need a leader, and Audrey Scott isn’t translating the success she had as Chair into a good campaign for National Committeewoman.

Scott Strategies … A Family Affair

Make no mistake, political campaign are a major income source for the Scott Family business.   According to the Maryland Board of Elections, from 2007 though January 2012, Scott Strategies at 51 Duke of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD 21401 has collected over $800,000 for various Maryland State political committees, including:

  • Asti, Alison Friends of
  • Brennan, Ted Friends of
  • Burkhardt, Doug Friends of
  • Citizens For Better Government Slate
  • Citizens For Change Slate
  • Corkadel, Michelle Citizens To Elect
  • Elfenbein, Ron Friends Of
  • Fink, Derek Citizens To Elect
  • Freestate Alliance For Better Government Slate
  • Hodges, Stephanie Friends To Elect
  • House Republican Victory Slate
  • Howard, Seth Citizens To Elect
  • Impallaria, Richard Friends Of
  • Jacobs, Jay Friends Of
  • Jones, Cindy Citizens To Elect
  • King, James The Committee To Elect
  • Kipke, Friends of Nic
  • Krebs, Susan Friends Of
  • Ladd, Dick Committee to Elect
  • No Slots At The Mall
  • Pusey, Marty Friends of
  • Saab, (Sid) Citizens For
  • Schuh, Steve Citizens To Elect
  • Schulz, Kelly Friends Of
  • Slaughenhoupt, Evan Citizens To Elect
  • Swafford, Rene Citizens To Elect

These are just the state committees.  In addition Federal campaign include the 2012 primary campaigns of Richard Douglas and David Brinkley,

Roscoe Bartlett and Dan Bongino in 2012,  as well James Shalleck in 2010, have all learned the hard way the cost from Audrey Scott when they failed pay the “Scott Family Business.”