O’Malley’s Special Interest Shindig

Despite attacking opponent for lobbyist ties, O’Malley cozies up to moneyed interests
Martin O'Malley

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley / AP


Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership PAC, “O’Say Can You See,” will hold a fundraiser on Dec. 10 in the Chevy Chase home of lobbyists Mike Smith and Amy Tejral, according to Politico.

The invitation says Bruce Caswell, David Casey, Jeremy Gold, Gov. Jim Hodges, Paul DiNino, Mike Smith, and Amy Tejral are hosting the event.

The fundraiser’s guest list is ironic, given O’Malley’s accusation during his gubernatorial campaign that his Republican challenger was a lobbyist with deep ties to special interests. The Washington Post dismissed the attack at the time; now O’Malley is poised to collect big money from lobbyists and special interests outside of Maryland.

Married in 2009, Smith and Tejral are well-connected D.C. lobbyists. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the couple has contributed at least $500,000 to Democratic candidates and committees.

Tejral has more than a decade of experience working in federal, state, and local government offices. She served as the legislative director for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson before joining Avenue Solutions, an “all-female, all-Democratic [lobbying] firm,” in 2007. Avenue Solutions boasts about using their “wealth of experience, relationships, and seasoned political judgment to help clients communicate effectively with Democrats on Capitol Hill and achieve their goals.

Additionally, Smith has “more than a decade of experience,” as a lobbyist with Cornerstone Government Affairs. Smith’s clients include the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, Inc., which paid Cornerstone at least $40,000 to lobby for renewable energy.

Abengoa Solar was one of two companies awarded a DOE grant worth nearly $2 billion. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform criticized the grant to Abengoa Solar and cited European investments that could drag down the company.

Paul DiNino is also a lobbyist with Cornerstone Government Affairs. He is the founder and president of DiNino Associates, LLC, “a full-service political consulting firm.” Both firms have represented Maximus Inc., a Virginia-based health consulting firm.

At least 3 of the hosts are also associated with Maximus. Bruce Caswell is the president and general manager of the Health Services Segment at Maximus and David Casey is the chief marketing officer. Former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges represented Maximus at a Pfizer-sponsored dinner at the National Governors Association winter meeting in February.

Maximus has been scrutinized for questionable business practices in recent years. Maximus settled a Medicaid fraud lawsuit for $30.5 million in 2007. Maximus “neither admitted nor denied” federal allegations that they helped the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency file false Medicaid claims. The company did, however, “[accept] responsibility for the conduct of its employees.”

Maximus failed to report errors with drug and alcohol screenings it was hired to preform on behalf of the California’s “diversion programs” in 2010. Maximus received $2.5 million per year to run the drug-testing program.

The testing was subcontracted to a Kansas-based lab that “used the wrong standard in assessing results” from December 2009 to August 2010. The “problem continued for 10 months,” until California was alerted. An audit by the Department of Consumer Affairs found that Maximus failed to consistently report positive drug tests to the appropriate board in a timely manner.

Most recently, Maximus paid $50,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.