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Inaugural Invites in the Mail Soon


Formal invitations to Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley's inaugural celebration on Jan. 17 will be mailed out in the coming two weeks, according to an email sent to supporters of the Baltimore mayor this morning.

Aides say they expect close to 35,000 invitations will be sent for the event in Baltimore following O'Malley's swearing-in as Maryland's 61st governor.

"It's friends, it's supporters, it's really anybody who helped the campaign in any shape or form," said O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese, when asked who should expect an invite in the mail.

Admission will not be limited to those who are invited, however. Abbruzzese said that tickets to the event, which cost $75, will soon be available for purchase online.

To defray costs, O'Malley is turning to corporations and well-heeled residents to put up as much as $25,000 for inaugural festivities. It's a tried and true method that raised nearly $1 million for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s inaugural four years ago and more than $3 million for Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine a year ago.

So who gives to these sorts of efforts?

Four years ago in Maryland, when Ehrlich set up a 5o1(c)(4), donors included some of the state's leading corporations and most prominent residents, several of whom later had business before the state.

They included Constellation Energy Group, the parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric, whose planned 72.percent rate increase prompted O'Malley to bash Ehrlich for appointing the utility regulators who approved the increase.

Among the individual donors was construction executive Willard Hackerman, who later tried to buy state parkland in Southern Maryland at what lawmakers said was a bargain rate.

The O'Malley transition team is also recruiting volunteers to stuff envelopes over three days next week. "This will be a good opportunity to see friends from the campaign and be a part of this historic event," says an email from O'Malley campaign manager Josh White. "Food and beverages will be provided."

By John Wagner  |  December 8, 2006; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Next: Leggett Suggests Gas Tax Hike, O'Malley Noncommittal


Your comment linking Gov. Ehrlich to the 72% rate increase is not exactly correct. As I recall, this whopping increase was set up some years ago when the Democratic legislature put a long term cap on rates, while allowing the Utility to recapture it's loss seven years later, which came due in 2005 or 2006. It really was a poorly planned piece of grandstanding on the part of the Democrats. Thanks.

Posted by: John O'Fallon | December 8, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

John - its not surprising you say there's been some kind of loss for the utilities. That's utter bunk though. The utilities, specifically BGE (now Constellation) have operated while making decent profits from the moment of deregulation. Even with the caps in place, they were never hurting for profits. But you are right, deregulation of the industry was a mistake... but I have a feeling my reasoning for saying so differs from yours.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

...and with the dog and pony show BGE deferral plan that O'Malley conjured up as an election year ploy, even those that could swallow the rise in rates cannot opt out of the initiative and will therefore owe interest on the deferral plan.

Ehrlich didn't spawn this mess but thanks to O'Malley, EVERYONE loses-except Constellation/BGE.

Posted by: BG from PG | December 10, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post had another article that hinted that the band "The Saw Doctors" may be playing at this celebration. Any more info on that?

Posted by: Doug Marshall | December 12, 2006 11:32 PM | Report abuse

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