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Steele Plans Card Fundraiser

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) is dipping back into President Bush's campaign finance donor pool this week as he continues to raise money to fund his campaign for U.S. Senate.

This time, Steele will be in New York at the Upper East Side home of GOP moneyman and Free Enterprise Fund chairman Mallory Factor.

Wednesday's event will be headlined by White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., continuing a series of fundraisers Steele has held with help from the Bush administration.

His first fundraising event as a candidate was hosted by Karl Rove. More recently, President Bush came to Maryland and raised roughly $500,000 for Steele's senate campaign.

Steele's campaign officials have said they have no intention of shying away from the president, even though Maryland is a blue state where polls show Bush is not particularly popular
Meanwhile, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) yesterday defended Steele's practice of using taxpayer money to cover the cost of his security detail on political trips and foreign travel.

Democrats took aim at Steele last week after The Washington Post reported that Maryland taxpayers had paid $49,000 for state troopers, who serve as Steele's bodyguards, to travel to political events with the lieutenant governor.

During an appearance on WBAL radio in Baltimore, Ehrlich said he considered the flap "a nonissue," adding: "You don't cease being a public official because you're running for another office." He suggested Democratic candidates running for governor be given the same scrutiny.

Representatives of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said local taxpayers generally do cover in-state protection of the two men, though they pointed out that neither travels out-of-state nearly as frequently as Steele, who spent 128 days on out-of-state travel since taking office..

Taxpayers do not pay to protect Duncan when he leaves the state, a spokeswoman said. It is up to O'Malley's security detail to determine whether he needs protection outside of Maryland, a spokesman for the mayor said.

Matthew Mosk and John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 5, 2006; 9:44 AM ET
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Steele's campaign seems almost quixotic given its impossibly long odds. I'm sure the wealthy Republicans who so willingly donated to Bush can afford throwing money away on Steele; I just don't get what they expect out of the deal.

Posted by: elliottg | March 5, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This is all nonsense. Steele can't raise enough money in the state he is running in so he has to go to New York and peddle to the right wingers for cash! Is there something horribly wrong with this picture? We need to have total public funding for elections with no private donations. Money is running our government and regular citizens don't have a shot in hell of obtaining public office these days...very disheartening.

Posted by: Mr. K | March 5, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Steele seems to be wrapping himself up in Bush. He can't be that stupid to think this will help his chances in the fall. It will raise him money to run a campaign that will of course talk about the Bush agenda. That will surely lead to his defeat in MD.

So why is he doing this? No money in MD? Does he thinks he has a chance? No. He's probably doing this because he wants a job in the republican party, maybe chief of the MD RNC. The republicans reward loyalty more than anything else. Steele is simply being as loyal as he can be.

Posted by: Sully | March 6, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"Steele, who spent 128 days on out-of-state travel since taking office."

Well, that explains why he's never gone through with his campaign promise of leading a commission to look at the death penalty - he's never here.

Hmmm. Maybe that's not such a bad idea, actually. Mr. Steele, stay out of state as much as possible. Please.

Posted by: corbett | March 6, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Steele thinks he can win by stuffing his pockets with the President's money. This is just more ammo for whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

(Insert comparison to Stem cell research and Steele raising money from Bush here)

Posted by: Jim Goden | March 6, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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