The Washington Post

As he weighs White House bid, O’Malley turns to West Wing Writers for speechwriting help

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is weighing a 2016 White House bid, recently turned to an appropriately named consulting firm for some help: West Wing Writers.

A $14,676 payment to the Washington-based speechwriting firm appears on the latest campaign finance report filed by O’Malley’s political action committee, O’ Say Can You See.

West Wing Writers was founded in 2001 by a group of domestic and foreign policy speechwriters for President Bill Clinton. (It has nothing to do with the Aaron Sorkin-created television show, “West Wing.”)

O’Malley’s PAC otherwise had a relatively uneventful quarter. After raising $1.7 million last year, it reported taking in only $104,200 during the first three months of the year.

Aides said O’Malley chose not to solicit money for the PAC during the 90-day legislative session that ended April 7. Maryland law prohibits the governor from raising money for a state-level campaign account during the legislative session, though that prohibition does not apply to O’Malley’s PAC.

O’Malley has used the PAC to maintain a modest-sized staff as he travels the country and contemplates his political future. Aides said they expect fundraising to pick back up in coming months.

As of the latest report, filed late Tuesday, O’Malley’s PAC had $529,850 in the bank.

In November, O’Malley unveiled a new speech during an address to a Democratic dinner in New Hampshire, the nation’s first presidential primary state. O’Malley has delivered similar versions of the speech in appearances at more recent Democratic gatherings in California and Wisconsin.

According to its Web site, clients of West Wing Writers include “candidates for high office, foreign leaders, ambassadors and U.S. senators.”

“If we put their names here, you would know them all,” the Web site says. “But if West Wing Writers’ clients have one thing in common, it’s that they expect confidentiality. And that’s what we give them.”

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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