The lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs continues to attract top-ranking Maryland politicians to its waterfront Washington, D.C., headquarters for political fundraisers.
On Dec. 5, the firm, led by Marylander Geoffrey J. Gonella, who serves on several nonprofit boards, will host a fundraiser featuring state House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), the presumptive next Senate president. Proceeds, according to an invitation, will be divided between Jones’ campaign committee and the Senate Democratic Caucus fundraising entity.
This will be the first joint fundraising appearance for Jones, who became speaker on May 1, and Ferguson, who is due to take over the Senate formally on the first day of the General Assembly session on Jan. 8.
But they won’t be the only bold-faced Maryland political names on hand at the D.C. fundraiser. U.S. Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D) and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D) are listed as “special guests” — all three are powerful former state lawmakers — and the invitation says that other members of Maryland’s congressional delegation will be on hand.
Suggested ticket prices for the event start at $500. Hosts will be asked to pay $6,000.
Cornerstone Government Affairs lobbies the federal government but has nine offices around the country, including one in Annapolis, where lobbyists represent clients before state and local governments.
More on Jones and Ferguson
Meanwhile, Jones will be appearing as the headliner at five fundraisers for House colleagues next month: for Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s) on Dec. 6; for Del. Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s) on Dec. 9; for Del. Brian Crosby (D-St. Mary’s) on Dec. 10; for Del. Patrick Young (D-Baltimore County) on Dec. 10; and for Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery) on Deb. 12.
Jones herself will have a pre-session breakfast fundraiser on Jan. 3 in Annapolis.
Ferguson, who will, like Jones, be a new presiding officer, also has a busy schedule of appearances at colleagues’ fundraisers in the weeks ahead: For Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery) on Dec. 16; for Sen. Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard) on Jan. 2; and for Sen. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George’s) on Jan. 2.
Ferguson has a fundraiser of his own scheduled for Dec. 16.
Speaking of pre-session fundraisers, no one is more aggressive on the fundraising front than state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), who has at least five money-collecting events between now and the Jan. 8 start of the legislative session, when state elected officials are banned from raising money for three months (exceptions will be granted for lawmakers who are running for Congress or for city offices in Baltimore).
The Franchot fundraisers are in Savage, Waldorf, Frederick, Baltimore and Silver Spring. At least two are taking place, fittingly, at breweries.
Two of the House’s newest members are wasting no time raising money.
Del. Carl Jackson (D-Baltimore County), who was appointed to the House last month, has his first event since becoming a lawmaker scheduled for Dec. 11 at the Maryland State Education Association building in Annapolis. Nicole Williams, who will be sworn in to fill a vacancy in the Prince George’s County House delegation on Dec. 6, is raising money on Dec. 16 at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 union hall in Landover.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) will get a fundraising boost on Dec. 5 from his fellow Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), who served as President Clinton’s Health and Human Services secretary. The event is taking place at a private home in Potomac.
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.
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