Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Siddiqui Fatigue

I received this mailer today.  Whoever authored this MSEA piece has both of her or his hands on the pulse of Howard County.  The text, the supporting evidence, the artwork…they definitely reflect a mood that can be felt throughout the County, one that says quietly yet firmly: “enough.”

The Siddiqui Show, replete with all sorts of bitter consequences, cannot be picked up for another season.  This blog has covered, at some length, her shortcomings in public office.  The mailer succinctly lists her “failures and missteps that hurt our kids and schools.”

Despite ample evidence of her limitations as an officeholder, I suspect that her not-insubstantial Name ID and demonstrated ability to fill up her campaign coffers give her, unfortunately, a decent shot at capturing the Democratic nomination for County Council (District 4).

While Democratic voters have three choices on the District 4 ballot, I strongly encourage Spartan Considerations readers to not divide up the anti-Siddiqui vote.  That is yet another reason, out of many, to vote for Deb Jung for County Council.  Ms. Jung has the background, temperament, and vision to be a solid progressive voice on the Council.  And she has earned the support of a wide range of local grassroots groups and residents, including but not limited to, the Howard County Education Association, the Sierra Club, the People’s Voice, and the Columbia Democratic Club.

Deb Jung offers the change we need in the 4th, and she can be trusted.

In solidarity.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Campaign Finance Oddities: Sigaty Edition Part II

After spending some time looking through the Sigaty campaign’s expenditures, I thought I would review her contributions.  Again, I noticed something unusual.  Nothing inherently wrong, but atypical and worth noting.

Her State Senate campaign is heavily reliant on a handful of donors.  In her most recent filing (pre-primary 2 gubernatorial, filed on June 15, 2018), a total of just four donors accounted for 72% of her non-PAC contributions in the latest reporting period (which ran from May 16 to June 10, 2018).  All four of them were connected in some way to Merriweather. From highest to lowest dollar amount, they are:

1)    $6,000 from Jean Parker on May 25, Merriweather’s General Manager
2)    $6,000 from Event Consulting & Management on May 25, which is run by Brad Canfield, a VP at Merriweather
3)    $5,000 from Seth Hurwitz on May 25, the owner of IMP/Merriweather operator
4)    $1,000 from Justin Lavis on May 25, he heads up JL Hospitality, which operates the liquor license for Merriweather

That is $18,000 from Merriweather-related interests in just a few weeks (actually all on the same day) … enough to pay for about three decent-sized mailings. 

So then I went back to the campaign finance report prior to pre-primary 2 gubernatorial (the appropriately named pre-primary 1 gubernatorial, which covered the transaction period from 1/11/2018 to 5/15/2018).  In this timespan, her campaign brought in $55,348.10 in non-PAC contributions.  Again, a handful of donors accounted for a considerable amount of her haul during that period. They included:

1)    $6,000 from Merriweather Post Pavilion
2)    $6,000 from HTI Contractors (a construction company based in Finksburg, Maryland)
3)    $6,000 from Anthony Roussos, Vice President of B & R Construction Services
4)    $5,373.10 from Howard Hughes Corporation
5)    $5,000 from Heil Builders DBA Modu Tech (which offers “general contractor products and services unique to the construction industry”)

So just looking at the campaign’s top 5 donors for that period, listed above, they account for $28,373.10 of the non-PAC contributions she raised (51% of the total for that time period).

Adding it all up, she brought in a total of $80,323.10 from non-PAC sources, $46,373.10 (57.7% of that amount) came from just nine donors.  That is rather heavily concentrated.  And there were a few others who gave $1,000 or more to her State Senate campaign this year, including at least one person with a connection to one of the aforementioned organizations. 

So nine donors, essentially, provided the Sigaty campaign with sufficient funds to pay for about seven mailers, which is precisely how many her campaign has sent out thus far (six regular direct mail pieces and a postcard).

As an operative, the present author recognizes the challenges involved with political fundraising.  As a voter, I am concerned when candidates (especially those who raise a decent amount of money) are reliant on a handful of donors with deep pockets.  You may agree or disagree with such a perspective, but I believe the electorate of the 12th State Senate District should be made aware of this campaign finance information as they consider their voting decisions.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.