- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2012

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley last week wiped his hands clean of donations made to his 2010 campaign by businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson.

A donation of $38,000 was made to the Maryland Veterans Trust Fund last week to offset the amount of donations made to Mr. O’Malley during the 2010 campaign by the prolific campaign donor whose home and offices were raided this year in connection with a campaign-finance probe in the District.

An O’Malley spokesman declined to provide a detailed listing of the exact donations that were paid forward by the governor, instead listing businesses and people whose contributions were given away.

Those people and entities that the O’Malley camp considers tainted were Mr. Thompson himself; his former accounting firm Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates; Mr. Thompson’s health insurance company, D.C. Healthcare Systems; Thompson associate Eugenia Harris, who pleaded guilty to organizing straw donations in the District’s 2010 mayoral race; and Harris’ companies, Belle International and Details International.

Adding together the publicly assessable campaign-donation amounts provided by those six entities, however, only amounts to $22,000 in donations provided during the 2010 campaign cycle.

Say we throw the O’Malley camp a bone and add in a $4,000 donation made by one of Mr. Thompson’s business subsidies, RapidTrans — which a spokesman could not confirm was on the list — and we have $26,000. But that is still $12,000 short of the total $38,000 Mr. O’Malley gave to the charity. Given that all the donating entities provided a maximum $4,000 donation to the O’Malley campaign — except ironically for Mr. Thompson, who gave $2,000 under his own name — they would have been barred from giving any more financial support.

So who else’s money has Mr. O’Malley deemed tainted?

Face of the franchise

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s decision to reappoint D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi may have been controversial at the local level, but a Thursday afternoon hearing on Capitol Hill made one thing clear — members of Congress love the guy.

Mr. Gandhi took flak from D.C. politicians this year for issuing revenue projections that proved to be overly cautious and for his role in contract talks before an ill-fated plan to introduce online gambling in the District. But the longtime bean-counter got to sit back and enjoy plaudits from the District’s overseers in Congress after he offered testimony on changes to the Height Act, a 1910 law that limits the skyline of the nation’s capital.

Mr. Gandhi told The Washington Times in April that he enjoys a healthy relationship with the folks at the Capitol, who rely on him for updates on the city’s finances.

“You’re one of my heroes in town,” Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, told Mr. Gandhi.

When Mr. Gandhi explained to the congressional subcommittee that he had no opinion on changes to the Height Act — he was just there to explain the financial effects — Mr. Issa delivered the equivalent of a friendly slap on the back.

“He’s not advocating anything. He’s just counting money,” Mr. Issa said with a smile.

Then Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, did something no one has ever done — he compared Mr. Gandhi to Nationals’ phenom Bryce Harper and Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. To the delight of D.C. fans, both young men have inked contracts with Washington teams.

“I understand,” Mr. Gowdy said to Mr. Gandhi, “you may have re-upped as well.”

Andrea Noble and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

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