Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pay to Play - Maryland Style

from Change Maryland
Change Maryland today released the final report on their independent investigation into allegations of unethical relationships between state contractors and the O’Malley-Brown administration during the Governor’s leadership of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA).

Change Maryland identified over five million dollars worth of questionable donations to the DGA from 28 state contractors in multiple industries including healthcare, energy, gambling, transportation, and communications between 2011 and 2013. It was during this time that Governor O’Malley led the fundraising efforts of the national political organization.

“Our research reveals a disturbing pattern from this administration that is at the very least unethical and inappropriate,” said Larry Hogan, founder and Chairman of Change Maryland. “The people of Maryland deserve to know the truth about these donations and the state decisions that may have been influenced. Did the Governor solicit large contributions to help further his national aspirations and reward those donors with huge state contracts and favorable decisions?”

Recognizing the inappropriate and unethical nature of these relationships, state law prohibits state contractors from making contributions to an elected officials campaign account. The evidence in this report indicates the possibility of a deliberate, coordinated effort by this administration to to circumvent the intent of the law by soliciting unlimited contributions to a federal, rather than state account.

“Allowing a ‘pay-to-play’ culture of corruption to take a stronghold in our state government threatens every business and individual in Maryland,” Hogan said. “Even the perception of this practice prevents an honest and fair bidding process for all job creators who may wish to contract with the state. It allows complicit politicians to hijack millions, and even billions in taxpayer dollars that could serve a greater purpose, both in the government and in the wallets of struggling Maryland families.”

“Unfortunately, this culture of corruption is enabled when you have a political monopoly with no checks and balances,” Hogan continued. “For almost eight years, this administration has run amuck without any accountability, and it’s Maryland’s working families who have paid the price. This is just the tip of the iceberg – we believe these allegations seriously warrant further investigation.”

Change Maryland was founded by Hogan in 2011 to advocate for fiscally responsible government and provide an opportunity for average Marylanders to hold their elected officials accountable. The organization gained national recognition in 2012 for its Tax Migration Study that showed 31,000 Marylanders leaving the state following the O’Malley-Brown administration’s historic tax increases. The group has released several other investigative studies detailing the economic decline in Maryland, including a comprehensive report of 40 consecutive tax increases, 6,500 lost small businesses, and a 100% increase in unemployment.

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