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Big corporate money continues flow to Rothstein’s re-election campaign
A man for the people or for the corporate interests?
The re-election campaign of Carroll County’s District 5 Commissioner Ed Rothstein continues to be funded overwhelmingly by corporate special interest groups.
A review of his June campaign finance report revealed that a luxury home builder and a retail developer with worrisome public education ties were responsible for roughly 80% of the contributions made to his campaign during that period.
And now, the makeup of his July campaign finance report, which was filed on the 4th, is basically the same, though the contributors have changed.
Of particular interest in this latest report are two separate $3,000 contributions, one from Colonial Stoler LLC and another from the Realtors PAC of Maryland.
As for Colonial Stoler LLC, a Google Maps search of the address associated with the corporation identifies it as being part of Len Stoler Automotive Group, the well known car dealership with 13 locations, 5 of which are in New York state and 8 of which are in Maryland throughout Owings Mills and Westminster.
Len Stoler himself started his auto business in 1968 by joining Ford’s Dealer Development Program, after first working as a general manager of Maryland Volkswagen in Baltimore.
Now Len’s son Barry is the president of the automotive group his father started, and it is Barry who has curious political affiliations.
Open Secrets, a website dedicated to “following the money in politics”, shows that Barry has been a regular donor to the Maryland Association for Concerned Citizens PAC, having donated what appears to be a total of $30,000 in bi-annual election cycle increments starting in 2016 and up through the current year.
The PAC is based out of Pikesville Maryland but often funds federal congressional candidates, and was called a “highly influential pro-Israel lobby that goes both ways in political support” per a 2014 profile by the Baltimore Jewish Times.
And while it is true that the PAC has exhibited some bipartisanship, it in fact leans quantifiably more left than right.
In 2022 for example, 77% of its contributions went to Democrats, including $10,000 for New York’s notorious Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer.
In 2020, 69% went to Democrats, including $5,000 for another New York Democrat, a Representative named Hakeem Jeffries, who recently made headlines advocating for gender neutral bathrooms in Capitol Hill.
Other noteworthy donors in the PAC alongside Stoler include David Smith of Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Hunt Valley based broadcaster which owns local FOX affiliate WBFF, and David Cordish of Cordish Companies, the real estate developer behind Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel, and Baltimore City’s Power Plant and Pier IV.
As for the contribution from the Maryland Realtors PAC, it wouldn’t seem controversial to suggest that they have an incentive for more development. More development means more homes to sell which means more commissions.
But with what is now a clear pattern on Rothstein’s campaign finance reports, just know that when you see his big signage and his billboards, it is often not the laypeople of Carroll County funding them, but instead the generationally wealthy who are deeply entrenched in high level business and politics.
And while there may be technically and legally speaking nothing wrong with that, from a moral perspective I’m reminded of a quote from famed noir novelist Raymond Chandler that is consistent with my view of the world based on what I’ve observed in my 31 years.
That quote is this:
“The bitter fact is that outside of two or three technical professions which require long years of preparation, there is absolutely no way for a man of this age to acquire a decent affluence in life without to some degree corrupting himself, without accepting the cold, clear fact that success is always and everywhere a racket.”
In other words, wherever big affluence and influence go, skepticism and scrutiny must closely follow.
Maryland Muckraker is a completely independent and fearlessly conservative blog covering local issues by me, Ethan Reese. After spending nearly a decade in corporate Baltimore in marketing technology, figured I’d have a go at writing. Since then I’ve contributed articles to FOX’s OutKick, PJ Media, and Rare Politics, as well as being named a Writing Fellow with the America’s Future Foundation.
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