Posted by: Ann Corcoran | November 11, 2010

Robocall ruckus continues, Maryland Attorney General files complaint

Note to readers:  I’ll post next on the Washington County robocall ‘dirty tricks’ allegations.

First, however, we have more news on the robocall controversy swirling around Robert Ehrlich’s hired gun, Julius Henson, who is alleged to have sought to suppress voter turnout in Maryland on election day.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The state attorney general’s office is seeking millions of dollars in fines from a political consultant who sent out an election night “robocall” to thousands of Marylanders suggesting that they “relax” because the race was over, even though polls were still open.

Comparing the calls to literacy tests and poll taxes, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said that the calls were made on behalf of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.with the intent of suppressing and intimidating voters in predominantly African-American areas.

“These calls were made not in an attempt to persuade people to vote for one candidate or another, or one party or another,” Gansler said at a news conference. “This was with intent to suppress voter turnout. We do not tolerate this type of behavior in Maryland.”

Of course this is a wonderful opportunity for Gansler to grandstand and put a final nail in Bob Ehrlich’s political career, we understand that.  But from a Tea Partier’s standpoint I sure hope Gansler sends a message with this complaint.  One of the driving forces that motivates Tea Partiers is that we are genuinely disgusted with dirty campaign tactics.

The Sun article goes on to tell us that it’s unlikely Henson will get much of a fine, but Gansler wants to look tough with this complaint.

The complaint, a civil action filed in federal court, alleges that political consultant Julius Henson; his company, Universal Elections; and an employee, Rhonda Russell, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by not identifying who was behind the messages.

The state is seeking $500 for each violation, meaning the potential fine could reach nearly $60 million for each defendant.

Henson has been a Democratic operative, so I have the same question I had when I first wrote about this story the other day, whatever possessed the Ehrlich campaign to hire a disreputable character like him?*  (See this clip of Henson at Ebony Mom Politics).  The Sun wraps up with this:

Henson has a history of rough-and-tumble campaign tactics.

In the 1998 gubernatorial race, he masterminded an effort to paint Republican nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey as a racist through fliers and other materials depicting her as an enemy of civil rights. In 2002, Henson was hired by then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and vowed to portray Ehrlich, her opponent in the governor’s race, as a “Nazi” in an effort to win black voters.

I suspect Henson laughed all the way to the bank with Ehrlich’s money, but I hope Gansler does wipe the smile off his face (don’t hold your breath though).  I wouldn’t put it past the Democrats to have set this whole thing up in the first place, but the bummer is,  that if so, Ehrlich (or his team) fell for it.

* We know that the brave, reputable, ACORN Project Vote whistleblower Anita MonCrief offered her services to the Ehrlich camp but was turned down.


Responses

  1. […] dirty trick robocalls are not only tainting the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Robert Ehrlich, here, but now Washington County, where I live, has our own robocall […]

  2. […] Update November 11th:  Maryland Attorney General files complaint, here. […]


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