Correction to This Article
A Jan. 25 Metro article gave the wrong first name for a Baltimore construction executive who donated $4,000 to the campaign of Maryland Gov. Martin O┬┐Malley (D). The donor is Willard Hackerman, not William Hackerman.

After Victory, O'Malley Wrangles an Array of Donors

By John Wagner
Thursday, January 25, 2007

During Maryland's previous administration, Baltimore construction company executive William Hackerman came to symbolize what critics -- including now-Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) -- said was a too-cozy relationship between then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and well-connected developers.

Hackerman was at the center of a controversial land deal, eventually aborted, in which the Ehrlich administration sought to sell him 836 acres of state timberland in St. Mary's County at what Democratic lawmakers characterized as a bargain rate. During the governor's race, O'Malley traveled to the site, news media in tow, vowing never to do anything like that.

In the opening days of the new administration, Hackerman's name has surfaced again, along with hundreds of others, in a new finance report as having contributed money to O'Malley during the weeks after his election. Hackerman gave $4,000 on Jan. 3, according to report details made public this week. Hackerman could not be reached to comment.

O'Malley and his running mate, Anthony G. Brown, raised nearly $1.7 million between Nov. 22 and Jan. 10 from an array of interests. They included developers, labor unions, gambling interests, Annapolis lobbyists and a slew of limited liability companies, which have become widely used in Maryland to get around spending limits.

Post-election largess came O'Malley's way from several political action committees, including the Maryland Realtors, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Maryland Highway Contractors and the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance. They all gave at least $5,000.

Among the well-heeled Annapolis lobbyists contributing to O'Malley after the election: Casper R. Taylor (the previous speaker of the House of Delegates), J. William Pitcher and the firm of Alexander & Cleaver. Each gave $2,500.

Another interesting name: former state senator Paula C. Hollinger, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last fall. Hollinger, who gave $4,000, has been mentioned as a possible nominee for several Cabinet posts.

Major F. Riddick, the chief of staff to Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), and Riddick's wife, Manervia, gave $2,000 each to O'Malley. Riddick's standing in the Democratic Party was tarnished last year by his support of then-Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, for the U.S. Senate.

Deferring the Tough Stuff

Leaders in Annapolis appear likely to put off the toughest choices about cutting spending and raising taxes until next year's session, despite projections showing yawning budget shortfalls on the horizon.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) predicted that the process won't be pretty once they get there.

"All hell is going to break loose," Miller, who has presided over his chamber for two decades, told reporters yesterday.

Miller said he would not be surprised if lawmakers are not able to craft a budget solution during their regular 90-day session next year, scheduled to end in mid-April, and wind up spending part of that summer in Annapolis.

Governor Demurs on a Stem Cell Bill

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said yesterday that he is not inclined to support a bill introduced in the General Assembly this year that would place a priority on embryonic stem cell research projects competing for state funds.

Current policy, established last year, allows researchers to seek funding for projects using embryonic and adult stem cells. Both types of research are considered promising for a variety of debilitating conditions. But federal funding has been restricted for embryonic work, which is controversial because it involves the destruction of a human embryo.

O'Malley said he thinks that lawmakers should leave it to scientists to determine which type of research is worthy of funding. "I think it is probably pretty good the way it is," he told reporters after addressing a conference on the emerging science.

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