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Government & Politics

Hogan’s Inaugural Committee Raised, Spent $1.6 Million

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) congratulates Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) at Hogan’s inauguration on Jan. 16. Photo from Executive Office of the Governor

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) raised more than $1.6 million for his second inauguration, receiving large donations from energy, communications and real estate companies, campaign finance records show.

Under a new state law, Hogan is the first governor in Maryland history required to disclose the fundraising and expenditures associated with his inaugural celebration. That report was submitted Thursday to the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Overall, the Hogan-Rutherford Inaugural Committee raised – and spent – $1,664,712.21, the documents show, including 223 contributions of $1,000 or more.

Hogan’s inaugural committee was not bound by normal state campaign finance rules limiting contributions to $6,000 per individual or entity. But with a few exceptions, most of the donations were listed in individuals’ names, rather than the names of the entities they represent.

So, for example, one of the two biggest contributors to the inaugural fund — $100,000 – came from one Alex Nunez, who listed a Chicago address. Nunez is in fact a senior vice president at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which is owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp.

The inauguration fund’s other $100,000 donation came from Global Energy Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based pipeline company.

Among the entities giving $25,000, through contributions from their representatives: Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield; Tidal Basin Government Consulting; Transurban, a toll road investor; Dominion Resources; Erickson Living; the United Association, a conglomerate of plumbers and steamfitters’ unions; Comcast; EZ Storage; Whiting Turner, the development company; Stewart Properties and Construction; and Verizon.

Most of the inaugural committee’s expenditures — $1.2 million – went for expenses associated with putting together inaugural events, including $653,000 to rent MGM Grand Hotel at National Harbor for the governor’s inaugural night gala.

At least three Republican firms got tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees — including $45,000 paid to Purple Surfboard LLC, a consulting firm established only recently by Hogan’s campaign chairman, Thomas Kelso, who is also serving as chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

Also noteworthy: A reported expenditure of $10,000 to one Marshall Salter of Alexandria, Va. It was listed as an expenditure for “fundraising/general expenses.” But Marshall Salter is better known as Mark Salter, the wordsmith long associated with the late Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.); Salter co-wrote Hogan’s inaugural address.

The Hogan finance report also included a $514.20 check sent to Jeb Bush & Associates of Coral Gables, Fla., for travel. Bush, the former governor of Florida, spoke at Hogan’s inauguration.

After the inaugural expenses were paid for, the Hogan committee had money to burn, so it made several charitable donations before closing out the account:

$25,000 to Barstow Acres Children’s Center in Prince Frederick

$25,000 to Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation in Catonsville

$8,450 to Cool Kids Campaign in Towson

$25,000 to the Government House Foundation

$25,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Maryland

$25,000 to Ruth M. Kirk Recreation & Learning

$83,400.73 to Yumi C.A.R.E.S

The latter is an arts foundation set up by first lady Yumi Hogan. The late Ruth M. Kirk was a state lawmaker from Baltimore. Government House is the historic governor’s residence in Annapolis.

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Hogan’s Inaugural Committee Raised, Spent $1.6 Million