Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Call in the Night - A Short Campaign Finance Story

My phone rings.  I awaken, glancing one bleary eye at the clock.  2:16 am. This can’t be good.

Me: “Who is this…?”

Long-time reader (voice disguiser app in use, sounds like Tom Hardy’s Bane): “You should check out Saif Rehman’s campaign finance report.”

Me: “The Board of Education candidate…what’s there? Isn’t he self-funding?”

LTR: “Not all of it.  Find out who…and ask yourself…why?” 


Me: “Hello? Hello!”

They were gone.  I looked at my Caller ID.   Blocked.  I rang the operator and asked her for a trace on Klondike 345.  I then remembered it wasn't 1948 and my phone number had seven digits. 

So I did what one does when one receives such calls. I looked up his report.

I found three individual donors, each cutting checks for Rehman’s campaign in November 2017:

1)    David Bates of Friendship, Maryland.  $100.  I checked the address…looked like a match for arch-conservative State Senator Gail Bates' residence.  Must be her husband.
2)    Tom Yeatts.  $96.80.  That name is the same as the Deputy CIO of Howard County Government, a former associate broker at The Kittleman Group.  According to published news articles, he is County Executive Allan Kittleman’s brother-in-law
3)    James Wass. $25.  A person with an identical name in Riverdale, Maryland also cut a small check to Donald Trump for President (received on January 9, 2017).

Of course, within the bounds set by campaign finance laws, individuals are free to donate to the political campaigns of their choosing.  And the Board of Education is “non-partisan” (although candidates possess ideologies and many affiliate with a political party).  That said, why (as the caller asked) did those three particular individuals give to Rehman?  What do they want?  What are they expecting?  And why did he loan himself the sizable sum of $28,000 for such a campaign?  Is he trying to buy himself a seat on the Board of Education? If so, for what purpose?  What is his agenda?

Perhaps this information is already known, perhaps not.  Either way, I found these questions interesting on a quiet, post-forum Sunday.

In solidarity.


  1. I wouldn't vote for him. He is a "reformer" of the worst kind and I'm glad he is being exposed (if this scenario you described really happened). Schools are not businesses and should not be run like a business. We cannot afford to allow history to repeat itself. School Board elections should remain non-partisan....period.

    1. Hello! Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to state my belief that the partisan affiliation of candidates for public office, including "non-partisan" offices is something that should be disclosed to voters...voters deserve as much information as possible about the world-views of candidates as those beliefs can shape public policy decisions. I do not know if Mr. Rehman is an R, a D, a Green, a Libertarian, or unaffiliated. If he is an R, as a voter, I would like to know what he thinks about the federal education policies of Trump/DeVos. I am sure an R affiliation is a plus for some voters and a minus for others. I just found it interesting that two of his three GOP donors were relatively high-profile local Republicans. Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts!

  2. First, this shows that you have not visited my website to read anything that I have on my positions or who I am as a candidate.
    As the only candidate who is independent out of the 13 running, I find it very troubling that you would rather push "late night calls" instead of being suspicious about the motives behind the call or to talk directly with a candidate to get to know the "shades" you are referring to?
    As someone who writes blog to inform others, I would have thought that you would be interested in knowing the candidates more to ensure that your readers get the full / true picture of one’s positions / expertise / experience for the position they are running for to ensure that the County elect the most qualified person for the position? Anything less, is simply .........

    For the record, I invited all the candidates from both parties for my kickoff. Candidates came from both sides (see pictures under my photo album or I can send you the sign in sheet). As a candidate running for a non-partisan seat as an independent, I reach out to both sides and will continue to do so as I do not ask for party affiliations when I meet people as I will not ask the 56000 students if their parents are republicans, independent or democrats when they walk in to any school or making any decisions that affect our school system, when I am on the Board. I did not ask for any donations so if you feel that these three donations equaling $225-dollars is going to sway my decision making, not sure what to say to this.
    I guess that is what happens when you run as an independent. Framing the issue as if I’m a radical Republican isn’t fair, when that’s clearly not the case.

    As a parent of three very young children, I am in it for the right reasons with skin in the game where I feel strongly enough to put my own money.
    I’m primarily funding my own campaign because I only want to be accountable to the good people of Howard County. I’m doing this for them and my three very young children.
    My last child leaves the school system in 13 years from now as he is still in pre-K. With a budget deficit of $50 million dollar, I do not feel that we elect the right mix of people experienced enough to understand how to run the ever-growing school system. As a team of 7 board members, you need all the skills that complement each other to ensure that we continue to thrive as a county as a result of keeping our school system the very best in the nation.

    As someone who is in this country for the last 35 years and struggled to get to where I am today, I am really concerned when I hear diversity / equity buzz words. To me, the struggles in Howard County are real when we talk about Equity. I have not only been involved with ensuring that these voices are heard from the first day of my professional job because of my struggles, but I even spent 7 years for my PhD where my thesis is related to this. Feel free to go over this if you are interested. (

    So as far as I’m concerned, my record speaks for itself. Instead of speculating and insinuating fictional cruel intent on my part, do more research next time. Consider this my last communication unless you are genuinely interested in accurately portraying the candidates in this race.