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November 30, 2011

Did $30,000 bonus make Henson push the envelope?

Time was when people got paid for an honest day's work. Compensation was proportional to time and effort spent. At some point, however, clients and employers started adding significant marginal compensation for goals reached. Bonuses. "Success fees." "Landmark payments." "Contingency fees." And so forth.

Turns out Ehrlich consultant Julius Henson, who orchestrated allegedly illegal robo-calls to keep minority voters from going to the polls last year, would get a $30,000 bonus if Ehrlich won, in addition to his regular compensation.

From Luke Broadwater's story:

Though rejecting that plan, the campaign continued to pay Henson $16,000 a month — for a total of $112,000 — and promised a bonus of $30,000 should Ehrlich win

I believe bonuses paid based on political, legal, legislative or business outcomes are potentially insidious. All that money based on one little result can incentivize parties to go beyond what's proper. Maryland lobbyists are banned by law from getting exrtra payoffs for successful legislative accomplishments -- for good reason. Maybe the bonus was a factor in the Ehrlich campaign's ordering of these obnoxious calls telling African-Americans to "relax" and not vote.

Posted by Jay Hancock at 10:42 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.

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