Books, Christmas ornaments and rum flowed to O’Malley in 2010


(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), in a recently filed annual ethics report, disclosed more than 150 tokens of affection and gratitude he received during 2010.

There were boxes of chocolate. Christmas ornaments from Bill and Hillary Clinton. Coffee mugs and sweatshirts bearing the names of schools and other institutions he had visited. And books. Lots and lots of books — 88 in fact, including a pair of Bibles. Many of them were sent from the authors themselves (the Bibles were not among those).

Several gift-givers sought to play to O’Malley’s love of history, his proud Irish heritage and his love of Celtic music.

And stuff came in from all over the world. For example, Valery Pavlinovich Shantsev, the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region of Russia, gave O’Malley a bottle of vodka and a set of six glasses embellished with the region’s flag in pewter.

The premier of Nova Scotia sent six bottles of beer and two “mini-bottles” of Newfoundland screech rum. O’Malley got some gold coins from the former prime minister of Monte­negro, “framed Japanese artwork” from the consulate general of Japan and a book about Kazakhstan from the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Among the more clever gifts from abroad: Michael C. Polt, the U.S. ambassador to Estonia, gave O’Malley an embroidered polo shirt advertising a place called O’Malley’s Pub in Tallinn, Estonia.

It appears to be owned by a different O’Malley than the governor of Maryland. In any event, judging by its Web site, this pub in Tallinn is really into karaoke.

One of Maryland’s more worldly state senators, James C. Rosapepe, gave O’Malley a copy of a book he co-authored with his wife, broadcast journalist Sheilah Kast, called “Dracula is Dead: How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended It, and Emerged Since 1989 as the New Italy.” Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s) is a former U.S. ambassador to Romania.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also sent O’Malley a copy of his book “Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington.”

If O’Malley enjoyed it, he had a funny way of showing it. During an appearance at a forum in Washington in February, O’Malley mocked the title as part of a broadside against what he has been calling “a new breed” of right-wing governors.

Hopefully O’Malley was more appreciative of a book sent by Ben Bradlee, The Washington Post’s former executive editor. Bradlee’s book, “A Life’s Work: Fathers and Sons,” was co-authored with his son, Quinn.

David Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Cos., which is developing Maryland’s largest planned casino, gave O’Malley a copy of a book written by others. “Start-Up Nation” details how Israel has become a major player in the global business world, particularly in the technology sector.

O’Malley no doubt enjoyed three CDs sent to him by fellow Irish musician, Luka Bloom. Among them was Bloom’s latest, “Dreams in America.”

O’Malley, who fronts the semi-retired Celtic rock band, O’Malley’s March, is clearly a fan. He played a Bloom song, “Tribe,” during for fellow guests at a party in March at the residence of the Israeli ambassador in Washington.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) has a reputation for giving thoughtful gifts, and 2010 was no exception.

In January, Miller, a fellow history buff, sent O’Malley a bronze medal commemorating the dedication of a monument in New York that honors the contribution and sacrifice of 400 soldiers from Maryland in a battle there during the Revolutionary War.

Later in the year, in an apparent nod to O’Malley’s Irish heritage, Miller sent him the fictional book, “A Dublin Girl: Growing Up in the 1930s,” by Elaine Crowley.

The Clintons were among several gift-givers to send O’Malley a Christmas ornament. It reported arrived in a small Colombian woven basket that also contained a packet of seasoning.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.

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