GOP Cites Currie in Fund-Raising Appeal
As chairman of the state's powerful Budget and Taxation Committee, Prince George's Sen. Ulysses Currie (D) is used to raising money for state coffers.
Now, he may indirectly raise funds for an entirely different organization: The Maryland Republican Party.
The party used Currie's name in a fund-raising appeal sent via email to supporters last Friday. Currie has been in the news lately because of a federal investigation into his consultant work for Lanham-based grocery chain Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. He did not disclose the work on the state ethics forms. Currie has declined to comment on the investigation.
In the email, Maryland Republican Party Chairman Jim Pelura asked supporters to send contributions to support the effort to elect Sen. John McCain in Maryland.
"Our state has been written off by the talking-head pundits but recent events indicate that Senator McCain's candidacy represents the best chance a Republican presidential campaign has had in years to win Maryland!" he writes.
He concludes the letter: "Please join with us as we stand with John McCain and also stand against the corruption and incompetence of Martin O'Malley, Ulysses Currie, and the Democrat establishment in Maryland. With the help of friends like you, I know we will achieve victory!"
In an interview, Pelura, who has called for Currie to step down from his committee chairmanship, lumped the senator in with Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D), who is facing a state investigation and other ethics issues.
"There is a general unease out there, maybe not with any one particular person, but with the whole political elite, which happens to be Democrat in Maryland," he said. "It's my job to put names and faces to this unease. That's what I plan to do."
David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, noted that other prominent Republicans have cautioned patience about the Currie investigation until it is concluded and called the appeal a "weak hand grenade" unlikely to be effective.
"I think that shows a desperation on behalf of the Republican party," he said. "They've got nothing positive to say, they've got no plan, no program. They've got nothing to offer the voters of Maryland."
August 19, 2008; 3:42 PM ET
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