The following are excerpts from some of the roughly 14,500 e-mail exchanges and other documents involving Joseph Steffen made public Friday. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired Steffen on Feb. 8 after receiving a call from a Washington Post reporter asking about Internet postings in which Steffen wrote about an effort to "give float" to rumors about the personal life of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who is expected to run for governor in 2006.
Feb. 1, 2005: Steffen alerts first lady Kendel S. Ehrlich that a Washington Post reporter is "investigating" him.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired Joseph Steffen, right, over Internet postings.
(Wmar-tv Via AP)
"Though everyone's told me not to worry about this matter, as I made clear to [Chief of Staff Steven] Kreseski, [Communications Director Paul] Schurick, etc., I will not hesitate to throw myself on the grenade if that is what I think is needed -- or is desired from above. I've spoken with Meghann [Siwinski, press secretary to the first lady] about this situation as well: doubt my name would come up between you, her and [Washington Post reporter Matthew] Mosk -- but I'm pretty radioactive at present. Anyway, I apologize for any consternation this may give, but I believe you should know. After all that, I hope you're well. Joe."
The first lady replies to Steffen on Feb. 7:
"Relax. You'll be fine. We need you. Ken"
April 5, 2003: Steffen writes to a group that includes the governor's speechwriter, his deputy appointments secretary, two deputy press secretaries and others:
"Hello, all. Having been dubbed 'The Prince of Darkness,' by the Governor during his 1994 run for Congress does have its burdens, one of which is to perpetuate the myth -- especially when the myth ain't going anywhere anytime soon. (When the Governor and the Secretary of Appointments [Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.] -- on two separate occasions -- walk into two different, crowded receptions, see yours truly, and shout out, 'Prince of Darkness!' you know the deal -- especially when half the room looks around to see to whom the respective Honorable was referring)."
June 24, 2004: Steffen writes to Diane M. Baker, Ehrlich's deputy appointments secretary, to obtain the names of Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) employees who can be fired at will:
"Diane -- Is there any way to get me a copy of the MIA at wills? Or if I give you a list of names directly, would you tell me whether these folks are AW [at will]? I realize this isn't officially what I do any longer, but . . . there are some things here I don't see being changed without a shove coming from your end. Joe."
Baker replies the next day:
"Joe, last week when we met with [MIA Director] Al [Redmer] I gave him the current list and told him to share it with you. Unfortunately, I didn't make a copy of the list. . . .
[Appointments Secretary] Larry [Hogan] was very frank with Al about the disappointment with the lack of movement at MIA. Al didn't seem to like it, but tough."
Later that day, Steffen writes the following to Richard Cross, the governor's speechwriter, with whom he frequently corresponded by e-mail: "I am unofficially looking for 'OUTS!' to be made (per Hogan's request). . . ."
May 18, 2004: In an e-mail to Ehrlich aide Greg James, Steffen writes about a mutual acquaintance who "is somewhat nervous about initiating personnel moves." He continues:
"I talk regularly with Appointments about what to do/time frame in which to take action. First however, we need viable replacements. Personnel IS policy, to quote Ronald Reagan."