Update June 20th: This isn’t really an update because this Washington Post blog story by John Wagner is four days old. I was interested to see that the WaPo Maryland political writer couldn’t bring himself to mention the Democratic party connections of the two indicted aides. Good for you Baltimore Sun for a thorough story!
I wasn’t planning to write about this, mostly because I was very glad to see Bob Ehrlich disappear and didn’t want to say, ‘ told you so!’ (Longtime readers know he was not my favorite Maryland politician.) However, I changed my mind about writing when I read about this incredible lapse in judgment by the former governor in hiring these two in the first place!
Why on earth would he think two Democratic operatives would do a credible and fair job for a Republican?
As a matter of fact, when I first learned about Henson my immediate thought then was that this robocall fiasco had been done on purpose to put a nail in the coffin of Ehrlich’s political career (see one of several posts on this issue last November, here).
Although you might ask, why did Henson think he wouldn’t be nailed as well (what is that expression, something about not the brightest bulb)?
From the Baltimore Sun:
Two longtime political operatives who worked last year on the gubernatorial campaign of Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. were indicted Thursday and charged with ordering deceptive automated phone calls intended to suppress votes on election night.
Political consultant Julius Henson and campaign manager Paul Schurick each face three counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter’s decision and one count of failing to provide an authority line on campaign material. Schurick also is charged with one count of obstruction of justice.
The state prosecutor’s indictments for Henson, 62, and Schurick, 54, describe an Ehrlich campaign document titled “The Schurick Doctrine” with a stated goal “to promote confusion, emotionalism, and frustration among African-American Democrats.”
The document said, according to court papers: “The first and foremost desired outcome [of the Schurick Doctrine strategy] is voter suppression.” The indictment did not identify the document’s author.
Peter Zeidman, an attorney for Schurick, said the charges are “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts.”
“When the truth comes out,” he said, it will be clear that Schurick “did not violate any laws.”
Edward Smith Jr., Henson’s attorney, said his client is not guilty and that he would “let the process work itself out.”
Ehrlich was not accused of wrongdoing, though the taint from his aides’ indictments could provide an embarrassing epilogue to his 14-percentage-point defeat.
And then there is the other creep, Paul Shurick with his “Shurick Doctrine.” (I wonder did Bob ever have even a moment where he wondered over the years if Shurick was a plant?)
The state’s Democrats were more outspoken. Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis released a statement describing the robocalls as “reprehensible.” She said she was “outraged” by “any action intended to disenfranchise voters.”
Schurick has been a fixture in Maryland politics for decades. He worked in communications for Democratic former Gov. William Donald Schaefer* and was sometimes called the “Democrat” in Ehrlich’s close-knit group of aides.
He helped Ehrlich win election in 2002 and was rewarded with a job as communications director in the governor’s office. A member of the inner circle of aides, he followed Ehrlich to work at the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in 2007. Still loyal, he left the firm last year to head up Ehrlich’s rematch with O’Malley.
Campaign finance records show Ehrlich paid him about $106,000 in 2010.
Political observers were stunned when Ehrlich’s campaign hired Henson last year. The consultant has a track record of electing Democrats using controversial methods, and even tangled with Ehrlich in 2002 when he called the gubernatorial hopeful a “Nazi.”
There is lots more, read the whole Sun article—hope it’s a good lesson to the MD GOP. Which reminds me Gov. Rick Perry in a Drudge headline yesterday said basically: the Left is never going to love you (conservatives) so stop trying to suck up to them.
* For me, anyone who worked for Schaefer raises my hackles in the first place. In the late 1980′s and early ’90′s my farm neighbors and I had to fight Schaefer’s plan to reward political crony developers when he had a plan to make Southern Washington County and the area around the Antietam Battlefield into the “Inner Harbor of the West” replete with second homes for the wealthy and a convention center. We landowners immediately surrounding the federal park were to be incorporated into the park and lose our properties. Straw men were actually trying to buy up other properties outside the inner preserved core for development. Through years of exposing the plan by local land owners we managed to hold on to our quiet countryside.