Miller, Busch to Raise Money in D.C. Before Session

    State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) will be raising money together 36 hours before the start of the General Assembly session – in Washington, D.C. And several members of the state’s congressional delegation will be there.

    The fundraiser is being held at the new offices of the lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs, in the ritzy new District Wharf neighborhood, a short hop from Capitol Hill. Cornerstone also has an office in Annapolis.

    According to an invitation for the cocktail hour event Monday, U.S. Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D) and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D) are the “special invited guests” – though the invitation also mentions the lawmakers’ former positions as state legislators.

    The host committee for the fundraiser consists of: Mike Smith, a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs; Heather Molino, a former aide to U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) who is a senior vice president at the firm; Brian Norris, a St. Mary’s County developer; Geoff Gonella, Cornerstone’s president; John Bohanan, a former Maryland delegate and ex-Hoyer aide who is now a senior consultant to the firm in Annapolis; and Michael Whitson, a St. Mary’s County businessman with close ties to Hoyer.

    “This is a great opportunity to talk with members of Team Maryland’s federal and state leadership as they begin a new session in Annapolis and Washington,” the invitation reads.

    Ticket prices start at $500 and go up from there. It costs $6,000 to host.

    The proceeds from the fundraiser go to Miller and Busch’s campaign accounts. The fine print on the invitation reads, “All Federal Elected Officials listed on this invitation are appearing at this event only as featured speakers. All Federal Elected Officials listed on this invitation are not asking for funds or donations.”

    There are more than 50 fundraising events involving state officials, who are banned from raising money during the 90-day General Assembly session, between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, the day before session starts.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading 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 later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.