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Campaign 2020

Politicsby Mark Reutter4:03 pmMay 16, 20200

Mary Miller allies funnel another $122,000 to controversial PAC

In addition to more contributions from former T. Rowe Price executives, Jim Smith, the ex-Baltimore County executive and Pugh associate, makes an appearance

Above: Mayoral candidate Mary Miller at a February forum. (Fern Shen)

A political action committee hoping to win white votes for Baltimore mayoral candidate Mary J. Miller – which said it would immediately disband on Thursday – has accepted another $122,000 of funds, according to a new filing with the Maryland Board of Elections.

Nearly half of the funds – $52,000 – was received yesterday, a day after the PAC’s treasurer, Martin G. Knott Jr., announced that the group was “immediately ceasing operations.”

The biggest infusion of cash came from three people closely associated with Mary Miller during her 26-year-tenure as an executive at T. Rowe Price.

Backers of Vignarajah attack ads were no strangers to candidate Mary Miller

Retired T. Rowe Price chairman George B. Roche paid $50,000 into the Citizens for Ethical Progressive Leadership PAC last Tuesday, and $25,000 each was contributed yesterday by Edward Bernard, the company’s former vice chairman, and Andrea Laporte, widow of a former T. Rowe Price fund manager.

All of these parties have previously maxed out their legal limit of personal donations to the Miller campaign.

Jim Smith Connection

In addition, the new filing discloses a $2,000 contribution from James T. Smith Jr., the former Baltimore County executive whose chief of staff – Ann Beegle – is now Miller’s campaign manager.

In 2016, Smith famously arranged a last-minute $100,000 loan to Catherine Pugh, which helped Pugh win the mayoral primary in Baltimore. As mayor, Pugh appointed Smith to a newly created $180,000-a-year post, chief of strategic alliances, with a vague portfolio.

Smith resigned last spring, shortly before Pugh herself was forced to leave City Hall amid the “Healthy Holly” book scandal. Smith resurfaced from semi-retirement last month as a contributor to the Miller campaign.

Miller has disavowed the memo written by Knott describing the PAC’s strategy as a “simple” one – “targeting white voters” away from mayoral rivals Thiru Vignarajah and Brandon Scott to Miller.

After the memo’s contents were leaked to the Baltimore Sun, Knott apologized and announced that the PAC would immediately disband.

Yesterday, The Brew reported that nearly all of the first wave of negative advertising by the PAC aimed at Vignarajah was paid for by high-level executives at T. Rowe Price when Miller worked for the firm.

Altogether, the PAC has collected $257,000 from fewer than 20 people.

Other smaller contributors to the PAC include Earl Linehan, a retired T. Rowe Price portfolio manager ($15,000), Carlisle Hashim, creative director of Carlisle Communications ($2,500), Faith Millspaugh ($1,500), and Towson attorney Thomas Dolina ($500).

Not a “Real” Democrat

This afternoon, Scott’s campaign complained that the PAC violated public trust and revealed that Miller is not a real Democrat.

They noted that Bradley K. Myers, the PAC chairman, was campaign treasurer for Howard County’s former Republican county executive Allan Kittleman and a supporter of Republican Governor Larry Hogan.

In 2006, Miller herself contributed $1,000 to now-U.S. Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican.

Miller was later named to high-level Treasury Department positions in the Democratic Obama administration, posts that have formed the crux of her mayoral campaign as a proven financial leader and honest manager who can turn Baltimore around.
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To reach this reporter: reuttermark@yahoo.com

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