- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

Questionable campaign expenditures by the father of Baltimore mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. were about $16,000 higher than previously reported, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

The reports, released Wednesday, show the Mitchell campaign is challenging 61 expenditures made by Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr., including 15 items that have come to the campaign’s attention since Dr. Mitchell resigned three weeks ago after reports that he spent $40,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

“After we looked through everything, we found other things that we believe should have been challenged,” said Mitchell campaign manager Jayson Williams.

The reports show front-runner Mayor Sheila Dixon has raised nearly $1.2 million with $720,000 on hand. Mr. Mitchell raised more than $640,000 with about $163,000 left to spend.

Mrs. Dixon held a more than 3-to-1 lead over Mr. Mitchell, a member of the City Council, according to a poll published July 16 by the Baltimore Sun.

Of the other eight candidates running in the Democratic primary on Sept. 11, schools administrator Andrey Bundley raised nearly $56,000, with more than $15,000 left to spend, and Delegate Jill P. Carter had $8,110, according to the reports.

Other candidates are Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway Sr., Philip Brown, activist A. Robert Kaufman and businessman Mike Schaefer.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Elbert R. Henderson, the lone Republican candidate.

Mrs. Dixon’s campaign finance report showed that Janice Dixon, the mayor’s sister, was on the payroll, receiving nearly $2,000. A company owned by Janice Dixon, Imani-Ellison LLC, received $18,754.

In 2003, when the mayor was president of the City Council, she was forced to fire her sister after the city’s ethics board ruled her employment as a paid staff member violated city regulations. Questions were raised again last year after reports that Mrs. Dixon pushed for city contracts to a company that employed her sister. The ethics board cleared her of wrongdoing in that case.

Housekeeping

Howard County Executive Kenneth S. Ulman fired his housekeeper after learning she was an illegal alien.

Mr. Ulman, a Democrat, told the Baltimore Sun that the 62-year-old woman had cleaned his Maryland house for the past year and a half, had been recommended by a friend’s mother, had a married daughter in the community and had lived in the United States about 15 years.

“It never occurred to me” that she was not a legal resident, he said.

Mr. Ulman said he asked the woman about her status in response to a reporter’s inquiry, and she acknowledged that she was in the country illegally.

“I have conflicted feelings,” Mr. Ulman said. “She is a good person who deceived me. She knew she was illegal, and she didn’t tell me.”

The paper did not identify the housekeeper and was unable to reach her for a comment.

A family member, who spoke to the Sun on the condition of anonymity, said the woman entered the country in 1991 on a visa that later expired. She pays taxes and wants to become a legal resident, but has no sponsor. Her daughter, who is a legal resident, can sponsor her mother after she becomes a citizen, the family member said.

Mr. Ulman, a lawyer who became county executive in December after serving as a County Council member since 2002, said the woman, who cleaned houses for several other families, came to his home nearly every Monday and was paid $110 a day. Because she brought her own vacuum cleaner and supplies, he regarded her as an independent contractor and thus was not required to file Internal Revenue Service Form I-9. The form requires employees to state their immigration status and Social Security number.

The Ulmans paid the woman $4,600 last year, Mr. Ulman said. He said he filed a Form 1099 reporting the income with the IRS this month, before firing her. He said he expects to pay a small fine for not reporting her income earlier.

According to IRS regulations, the maximum penalty is $50 for failure to file an income-information return for the previous year by Aug. 1.

“I am upset with myself,” Mr. Ulman said. “I am an elected official. … I think about these things. I try to do things the way they are supposed to be done.”

Duck is running

Democrat Andrew J. Duck made it official last week, formally filing as a candidate for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District seat held by eight-term incumbent Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett. The race will be Mr. Duck’s second consecutive attempt to unseat Mr. Bartlett. He lost a three-way race in November in which Mr. Bartlett got 59 percent of the vote, to 38 percent for Mr. Duck and 3 percent for Green Party candidate Robert Kozak.

“Change is overdue in Western and Northern Maryland, and I will bring change in Congress,” said Mr. Duck, a civilian adviser to the Pentagon on Army intelligence issues. He served 20 years in the Army, including a tour of Iraq in 2003. He advocates greater international cooperation in bringing security to Iraq. He has accused Mr. Bartlett of blindly following the Bush administration and the Republican leadership on issues such as the war, health care and energy policy.

Off the board

Maryland Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick has removed a Talbot County school board member for willful misconduct.

Maryann Judy was appointed to the board by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in 2003. The Easton Star Democrat reported last week that the other six board members recommended Miss Judy’s ouster last year after they said she missed a deadline for an evaluation of county schools Superintendent Karen Salmon, then submitted a backdated evaluation. That document was critical of Miss Salmon for not disciplining an assistant who spoke against having evangelical Christians on the school board. Miss Judy is an evangelical Christian.

Mrs. Grasmick concluded that Miss Judy violated the board’s rules. Miss Judy, however, says she was treated unfairly and that her ouster was politically motivated.

Elections chief

Nancy Rodrigues, a longtime traffic safety advocate, was appointed secretary of Virginia’s State Board of Elections on Thursday.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine praised Miss Rodrigues for her leadership of Drive Smart Virginia and for her understanding of the legislative process. Miss Rodrigues for years has been a key lobbyist on legislation affecting Virginia motorists.

“She enjoys bipartisan support from members of the legislature as she takes this post at the state board,” Mr. Kaine said.

The board oversees voter registration and elections in Virginia.

Electoral board secretaries are appointed for four-year terms. She succeeds Jean Jensen.

Miss Rodrigues, a Surry resident with a political science degree from Rutgers University, was previously a government relations consultant for Goldman & Associates, the Virginia Association of Driver Education and Traffic Safety, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Alion, Inc.

For nearly nine years, she served as executive director of Drive Smart Virginia, a public-private nonprofit partnership that works to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

Huckabee fan

The speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates has endorsed Mike Huckabee’s 2008 Republican presidential bid.

William J. Howell is Virginia’s most powerful legislator and has been speaker since 2003. Mr. Huckabee’s campaign announced Thursday that Mr. Howell had endorsed the former Arkansas governor.

Mr. Howell will help organize Huckabee volunteers and raise money in Virginia, a favored fundraising venue for presidential candidates because of it’s proximity to Washington.

The 64-year-old Republican from Stafford was elected to the House of Delegates in 1987.

This column is based in part on wire service reports.

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