Ehrlich Aide's Claim Regarding Comcast Unravels on Radio Program

By Matthew Mosk and Ann E. Marimow
Sunday, March 12, 2006

A top aide to the governor defended Maryland first lady Kendel S. Ehrlich's work with Comcast, telling radio listeners in Baltimore yesterday that the $55,000-a-year, part-time job was okay because Comcast did no business with the state.

Communications Director Paul E. Schurick described Comcast as a company that is not regulated by the state. And when he was asked by WBAL host Bruce Elliott whether Comcast had championed any legislation in the State House, Schurick replied, "None that I'm aware of."

Schurick said that reporters pored over state records and found only one example of Comcast interacting with the state, over a small-dollar agreement to bury cable lines on state land.

It took just a few minutes for Schurick's statements to unravel, as Tom Hucker of Progressive Maryland joined the broadcast and reminded listeners of a bill Comcast fought vigorously to defeat in 2003 that would have outlawed a popular corporate tax shelter in Delaware.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) vetoed the bill, a move that prompted critics to question the first lady's ties to Comcast at the time. In a Baltimore Sun article, two members of Schurick's team, press secretary Greg Massoni and deputy Henry Fawell , defended the governor's veto.

Also, The Washington Post reported over the past week that the company had millions of dollars in contracts approved by the Board of Public Works, a three-member panel composed of the governor, the treasurer and the comptroller.

Ehrlich did not recuse himself from a January 2004 vote on the buried cable lines. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) sat in for the governor, who was out of town, when the board approved nearly $600,000 in Comcast contracts with the University of Maryland in the summer.

Perez Seeks Statewide Campaign Manager

Montgomery County Council member Tom Perez appears to be pushing ahead with his run for attorney general.

In September, Perez told The Post he would run only if incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D) called it quits. "If Joe does not retire, I will not run -- I'll be planting a lawn sign for Joe Curran," Perez (D-Silver Spring) said at the time.

But times change. Curran still has said nothing definitive. When finance campaign reports came out in January, Curran had raised no money and had $26,175 on hand. That must have been enough of a signal for Perez.

A Montgomery County constituent spotted an online advertisement Perez posted March 7 for a campaign manager. The job posting seeks a "campaign manager to direct statewide campaign for Maryland Attorney General. Applicant must share progressive vision of America, and have substantial experience organizing a grassroots campaign, managing staff, working under pressure, and building a racially, geographically, and ideologically diverse network of support."

If Curran retires, Perez will face a tough race. Although he had reported raising $210,000 in January, Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler (D) has raised more than $1.4 million for a possible bid.

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