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Ehrlich Knocks Independent Ads


Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) complains about a so-called 527 group trying to link him to President Bush in a new fundraising solicitation sent by email.

"Former O'Malley aide attacks my campaign," says the subject field. That is a reference to Jim Cauley, a Democratic political consultant who worked on Martin O'Malley's 1999 mayoral election and more recently managed Barak Obama's successful run for U.S. Senate.

Cauley is among several Democratic operatives involved with the Maryland Fund, which is running radio and television ads about Ehrlich and has set up a Web site,

The ads, which ran for the past week, reflect a national trend of Democrats using these independent committees to finance advertising campaigns.

"The Fund's only purpose is to spread lies about me and misinformation about my record as Governor; NOTHING ELSE!" Ehrlich says in his email. "That way O'Malley can claim that he is running a positive campaign, while behind the scenes his backers are funneling money into attacks against me."

"The Maryland Fund has not yet reported where it is getting its money," Ehrlich says. "For all we know, the Hollywood elite and big labor interest who line Martin O'Malley's pockets are also funding this smear campaign against me. This strategy is ideal for O'Malley because he does not have broad support here in Maryland, but does have a few elitist out-of-state backers that are willing to fund his deception."

The tax-exempt 527 groups, named for the section of the tax code that governs their activities, are allowed to raise money for political activities, including voter mobilization efforts and issue advocacy.

John Rouse, listed as the group's executive director on its Web site, said in an interview that he grew up in Baltimore. He has a consulting practice in Washington.

Others involved in the group, Rouse said, include Cauley and Thomas Sweitzer, a Philadelphia-based consultant.

By John Wagner  |  October 3, 2006; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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