Board of Elections has qs for Ehrlich campaign
The State Board of Elections wants Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s campaign committee to turn over information about potential unreported in-kind donations by employees of the Baltimore law firm where he works.
In a letter to the campaign dated April 1, the board asked a series of questions centered on duties performed by longtime Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell, who works alongside Ehrlich at the Baltimore law firm Womble Carlyle on its crisis communications team.
The letter is a response to a recent complaint by the Maryland Democratic Party.
Over the last couple of months Fawell has regularly fielded questions from reporters asking about Ehrlich’s intentions in November, which were not made official until last week. He plans to kick-off his campaign against Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley at a series of events Wednesday, and the campaign this week hired former TV reporter Andy Barth to be a spokesman.
Barth confirmed that the letter was received. “We will respond to it in the 30 days it provides,” he said. Fawell did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Questions from the board include whether Fawell was paid by Womble for time spent promoting Ehrlich’s candidacy, the hours per month Fawell spends working for the campaign and any pro bono work Fawell does for other organizations on behalf of Womble.
The Board also wants the campaign to explain “the nature and role” Womble Carlyle has played with the campaign and whether any other Womble employees work on behalf of Ehrlich’s candidacy. Two others who were part of the former governor’s inner circle moved with Ehrlich to the law firm after he lost: Gregg Massoni and Paul E. Schurick.
The Democratic Party alleged that Ehrlich is using Womble as its “defacto campaign headquarters,” and the costs associated with the office should be viewed as campaign donations. The Board gave the campaign 30 days to respond.