It's one thing to be dropped from the guest list, but to be removed as a host?

Dolores G. Milmoe, a lobbyist for the Audubon Naturalist Society, was abruptly dropped Friday from the host committee of an upcoming fundraiser for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) following an inquiry from The Washington Post.

Under state law, lobbyists registered in Maryland are not permitted to solicit money for political candidates, including those running for governor.

Milmoe is listed as one of more than two dozen host committee members for an Oct. 26 event in Montgomery County, home of O'Malley's rival for the Democratic nomination, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. Suggested contributions range from $100 to $500, according to a copy of the invitation, which O'Malley aides said started circulating by e-mail three weeks ago, before O'Malley made his bid for governor official.

"It's an honest mistake by a local supporter who is no longer on the host committee," said O'Malley campaign manager Jonathan Epstein.

"I didn't really know," Milmoe said Friday afternoon, "and I'm kind of embarrassed to say I didn't. . . . I'm glad we got this straightened out, though, because I certainly don't want to do anything unethical."

The event is at the Chevy Chase home of Lori Klein and Max Fainberg. Among the other host committee members is Blair Ewing, a former Montgomery County Council president.

Borrowing From Bartlett

Political rhetoric in Maryland, it seems, is taking a turn toward the scholarly.

The week before last, Martin O'Malley (D) used -- or misused, some argue -- a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" during a speech in Rockville on the day he announced for governor.

Last week, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) borrowed from a more obscure source -- an 18th-century French mathematician and philosopher -- in a letter to Jervis S. Finney, legal counsel to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Finney has been bombarding lawmakers with letters objecting to the work of a panel probing firings of state workers by Ehrlich's administration. Miller's letter makes it clear he would like the letters to stop.

"The volume of correspondence generated by you concerning the Special Committee suggests your office is overstaffed and your taxpayer-funded working hours are underutilized," Miller wrote.

"Your correspondence," he continued, "is reminiscent of the French mathematician and philosopher Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, who observed in 1777 that he wrote because it 'is for me only a way to fill the time for lack of anything better to do.' The General Assembly, however, does have better things to do."

Finney shot back: "True, we certainly agree that the General Assembly 'does have better things to do' than this partisan attack on Governor Ehrlich. But if that's your legislative desire, so be it."

Waiting for Ehrlich

Letters have also been flying in recent weeks between Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman and Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointments secretary.

Under a law passed this year by the Democrat-led legislature, the Democratic Party gets to tell Ehrlich whom to appoint to two slots reserved for Democrats on the State Board of Elections. Lierman is miffed that Ehrlich has yet to make official two names submitted weeks ago: Bobbie Sue Mack, a former board member from Prince George's County; and Thomas Fleckenstein, an Anne Arundel County lawyer.

Hogan first questioned whether the appointments had actually been approved by the Democratic State Central Committee, as the law requires. The latest holdup is a request for additional biographical information.

"They're being very petty in slowing this down," Lierman said in an interview.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the governor's office is treating the appointments no differently than "thousands of other appointments made by the governor.

"This has nothing to do with anything but following the rules."

Unpacking the Suitcase

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) wrapped up his 24-jursdiction "listening and learning" tour Friday with a series of stops in Caroline County. The tour is a prelude to Duncan's expected announcement for governor this fall.

In an e-mail to supporters, Duncan campaign manager Scott Arceneaux reported that "Doug's travels . . . brought him to quiet rural towns in the mountains, to busy metropolitan areas, to waterside towns with economies still tied to the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay and to every corner of Maryland's beautiful Eastern Shore."

"Over the course of the next year and one month, Doug will invite the citizens of Maryland to think bigger," Arceneaux continued.

"To think how, with the right leadership and the right priorities, we can make Maryland the great state it can be."

Wonder whom he has in mind?