Cecil County Exec: GOP Finance Reports Show Moore is $ Leader; Broomell Gets $ from Ethics Appointee; Dawson Gets Liquor Violator $

March 27, 2012
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In the crowded Republican primary for Cecil County executive, current Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2) is the top fundraiser while fellow Commissioner and candidate Diana Broomell (R-4) got money from an Ethics panel appointee she championed. And “Smipkin” political machine candidate Michael A. Dawson is primarily financed by a liquor licensee found guilty of selling booze to minors, county records show.

Such are the numbers and surprises associated with the most recently filed campaign finance reports for Republican candidates in the April 3 GOP primary for Cecil County’s first-ever County Executive under the new Charter form of government approved by voters in 2010. Charter government will take effect after this year’s election for county executive and two County Council members, in Districts 1 and 5.

The multiple candidates in the Republican primary election for Cecil County Executive filed campaign finance reports with the state Board of Elections recently. The pre-primary reports cover campaign fundraising and expenditures this year since early January through 3/18/12. Candidates will also be required to submit post-primary reports, and in practical terms, many candidates delay filing a full accounting of donations and expenditures until after the primary election.

In alphabetical order, here are Cecil Times’ reviews of the campaign finance reports of major Republican candidates for Cecil County Executive:

DIANA BROOMELL

For current County Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4), her county executive campaign finance report is more about the “who” rather than the “how much.”

She reported receiving a total of $1,130 in donations, plus nearly $53 left over in her account from her 2010 run for County Commissioner. She listed expenditures of $812 and unpaid bills of $750 for ads in the Cecil Whig. She reported having nearly $371 cash on hand in her campaign account going into the final days of the GOP primary campaign.

But one of her donations raises questions about her self-professed, high-minded concerns with county government “ethics.”

Broomell has railed about government “transparency” and insisted on repeated “do-overs” of previous Commissioner votes, including her demands to “do-over” the new, tougher county ethics ordinance that was adopted last year. She also demanded a do-over of the terms of members of the expanded five-member Ethics Commission that was appointed—with her support– last December. She insisted they be given longer terms.

Two of the three new members of the ethics panel—Walter Rozanski and Valerie Falconi—are Broomell friends while the third new appointee—Bruce Hemphill—is a lawyer who rents office space from Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36), Broomell’s former boss, and who is a campaign donor to Smigiel and County Commissioners’ Board President James Mullin (R-1).

The new campaign finance report for Broomell shows that Walter Rozanski donated a total of $100 to her that was recorded by her campaign on 2/24/12. Shortly thereafter, Broomell proposed during a 3/6/12 worksession to give him and the two other new appointees to the Ethics Commission longer terms of service than previously approved. The following week, on 3/13/12, Broomell prevailed on her demands, on a 3-2 Commissioners’ vote. (Commissioners Tari Moore and Robert Hodge voted no.) As a result, Rozanski, whose term was due to expire on 12/6/12, got another two years on the panel, until 12/6/15. (Ethics Commission members are not paid for their volunteer service.) [ SEE previous Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2012/03/cecil-county-commish-ok-broomell-bid-to-give-new-ethics-panel-members-priority/ ]

Other Broomell donors include $500 from Diane Carabetta, a Republican activist whose husband, Joe, is a dissident member of the current county Republican Central Committee; $400 from Mary Jenkins of Elkton; $250 from Richard McCardell, of Conowingo; $200 from Billye Jo Jackson, a frequent critic of county government; $200 from Sarah Seib, of Colora; and $40 from Ed Okonowicz, a mystery writer and occasional Cecil Whig columnist. Broomell also received a $40 donation from a business, G&K Properties, in Conowingo.

[Broomell had filed an affidavit of limited donations for her previous campaign report but after crossing the $1,000 threshold, she had to disclose the aggregate totals of donors in the current campaign cycle.]

MICHAEL A. DAWSON

Michael A. Dawson, a first-term town commissioner in Perryville, has raised a relatively significant sum, which is all the more significant for its largest donors: business operators regulated by the town and county. He has raised $4,028, spent $1,678 on campaign expenses, and reported a cash on hand balance going into the final days of the primary campaign of $2,350.

Michael A. Dawson—NOT to be confused with Michael W. Dawson, another Perryville area resident who ran as a Constitution Party candidate for state delegate in 2010– is a member in good standing of the “Smipkin” political organization led by Del. Michael Smigiel and E .J. Pipkin, both R-36th District. He is a member of the county’s Republican Central Committee, elected on a Smipkin-financed “slate” of candidates and he is a former aide to Smigiel.

So it was not surprising that John Morony, of Queen Anne’s County, spouse of Andi Morony, Smigiel’s top aide in Annapolis and PR guru for his political campaigns, donated $143. And another Smigiel political pal, conservative activist Patrick McGrady of Aberdeen, gave nearly $239 to Dawson.

But, on the local level, Dawson raked in major donations from businesses affected by Perryville town government and county decisions and regulations. His largest donor is Bizzy B, Inc., owner of a Perryville convenience and liquor store that gave Dawson $2,500. According to Cecil County liquor board records, that operation—owned by a non-US citizen who told the liquor panel that he also owned a landromat in the town—was found guilty, on 1/29/08, by the county liquor board of serving alcohol to a minor and fined $250.

Since becoming a Perryville town commissioner by just one vote in the local election last year, Dawson—who until a few years ago lived in Prince George’s County– has rankled local government officials and long-time residents with his various attacks on local government. He has questioned regulations on apartment owners, while his new campaign finance report shows he received a $400 donation from the White Horse Apartments in Perryville and another $400 from J&R Properties in the town.

HARRY HEPBRON

Former two-term Cecil County Commissioner Harry Hepbron, a farmer and businessman who also created the Dove Valley vineyard and winery in Rising Sun, raised $1,650 in donations for his County Executive campaign and he loaned his campaign $1,500, state elections records show. His largest donations, $500 each, came from RKS Property Management LLC of Bel Air, and Linda Sweigart Read of Port Deposit.

Carl Roberts, a longtime Democrat and the former county schools superintendent, donated $250 to Hepbron’s campaign. Roberts ran for county commissioner in 2010 but lost to Diana Broomell (R-4) in the general election.

After printing and related campaign expenses of $2,382, Hepbron reported a cash on hand balance of $768.

TARI MOORE

Current county commissioner Tari Moore (R-2) reported campaign contributions totaling $5,480, including a $205 donation from the “Reagan Brigade” local political club. She did not break out ticket purchases to her $50 a ticket February fundraiser at Woodies in North East separately, instead including ticket purchases under her contributions report.

The report did not list any figures for expenses of the fundraiser or any in-kind contributions of services for the event. In response to a question from Cecil Times, Moore said she had inadvertently omitted the expenses and would amend her report to reflect them. She said the fundraiser costs of an estimated $1,500 were an in-kind donation. Other listed expenses for printing, postage, ads and related campaign activities totaled $6,299.

Moore loaned her campaign $5,538 in January and is still carrying over an $8,114 loan she made to her 2010 campaign for County Commissioner. In her January report to the Board of Elections, she reported a balance in her account of $1,604 and that was carried over to the new reporting period. At the end of the new reporting period, Moore listed a cash on hand balance of $6,322 going into the final days of the primary campaign.

Most of her donations were in the $50 to $100 range and came from individuals, nearly all of whom reside in Cecil County. Thermon Moore of Florida, her father-in-law, donated $250. Business donors included $250 from Daniel Smart Roofing of Glenholden, PA, and $100 from Colonel D&D’s Choice LLC in Elkton, and $50 from Five Rivers Financial Advisers of North East.

OTHERS

Among other candidates in the Republican primary for County Executive, Paul Trapani, a marina owner, has created a campaign finance committee with the state elections board but there was no listing of any finance reports submitted. Pete Pritchard, a retired civilian employee at Aberdeen Proving Ground, has no campaign finance committee filed with the state board. Richard Boyle, a retired supervisor at the former GM plant in Delaware, filed an affidavit stating he has raised and spent less than $1,000 on his campaign.

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3 Responses to Cecil County Exec: GOP Finance Reports Show Moore is $ Leader; Broomell Gets $ from Ethics Appointee; Dawson Gets Liquor Violator $

  1. Eric on March 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Great reporting thank you for the information.

  2. Ron Lobos on March 30, 2012 at 5:52 am

    So tell me how this works. If you are a friend of E.J. Pipkin and come out with negative campaign ads against [Michael A.] Dawson’s competitors in an attempt to get him elected, that money is not looked at as contributing to Dawson’s election campaign ? And if a full color ad comes out from friends of E.J. Pipkin showing Dawson’s picture and asking you to join him and vote for Dawson as County Executive, this doesn’t have to be reported as finance funds from Pipkin

    This Pipkin guy seems to be a shrewd manipulator of political funds, using smoke and mirrors. Tells me a lot about the company that Dawson keeps.

  3. Al Reasin on March 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Since Mr. Pipkin is not running for elective office, how is it that his negative mailers say, “Authority and Paid for by: Friends of EJ Pipkin, Wayne Beall, Treasurer” as is required by a candidate’s campaign organization. Also, the mailers do not state that they are sent out by a PAC nor do they have a declaration that the mailers are not from someone representing a campaign, which are the other legal ways to document the sender.

    Something stinks here and the mailers appear to be illegal, in my opinion.

    So some citizens and I are trying to find out it there is a violation of the election laws, especially since these mailers have been sent out at the last minute and they could make an impact. Unfortunately dirty tricks and negative campaigning all too often succeed since most citizens don’t have an in depth knowledge of all candidates’ resumes and histories.

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ALAN McCARTHY for COUNTY EXEC

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