Big developer helping fund Ed Rothstein's campaign has worrisome public education ties
The windy road from LLC to Kirwan
A review of the campaign finance report filed on June 13th for commissioner seeking re-election Ed Rothstein, reveals the incumbent’s campaign to be funded overwhelmingly by moneyed real estate developers.
Yes from March through May of this year, Rothstein’s campaign received a total of $10,600 in contributions, $8,500 of which can be traced directly to those with a developing interest.
The contributions in question are pictured here:
Notice the two separate $1,000 contributions that came in on the same day, from Eldersburg Sustainable Redevelopment LLC and Talles-Robbins Eldersburg Development Company LLC.
As it turns out, according to a public Linkedin profile, Harvey is also the owner of a retail property development company called Black Oak Associates, which owns a handful of shopping centers in Carroll County, and was responsible for the 2016 $60,000,000 redevelopment of Eldersburg’s Carrolltown Mall, now known as Eldersburg Commons, which features a Walmart Supercenter and a Chipotle.
Prior to the completion of that project, residents nearby expressed uncertainty regarding whether or not Walmart would be a good fit for the community, to which Harvey reacted in The Baltimore Sun by saying: “Walmart is what makes this whole thing happen”.
Much more troubling though, is Harvey’s foundational involvement in a nonprofit called Maryland Family Network (MFN), which he used to the president of according to a 2019 annual report published by the organization, and that he still donates to annually in amounts totaling between $10,000 and $24,999.
MFN manages a network of 12 Child Care Resource Centers with funding from the Maryland Department of Education. Those Centers offer early childhood care professionals training in concepts like “Anti-Bias/Cultural Competence” and “Social/Emotional Foundations of Early Learning” — subjects known to be associated with a progressive political point of view.
As a public policy advocacy organization, MFN cites the legislative passing of the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future”, otherwise known as Kirwan, as a “key victory” from 2021, alongside another bill which expands subsidized early childhood care.
This may explain why Rothstein has been reluctant to publicly endorse Carroll’s conservative Board of Education slate, commonly referred to as BMW, which will certainly work to protect the Carroll Board’s local decision making autonomy and fend off the ever encroaching State of Maryland — his campaign is being in part funded by an individual who is clearly sympathetic to a statist and progressive view of public education.
Harvey is also listed as a donor to Living Classrooms, an organization which operates two Safe Streets sites in Baltimore City. Safe Streets being the controversial violence intervention program relying on de-escalation and mediation, which many argue detracts from traditional methods of violence reduction like robust policing and the enforcement of laws as they are written.
Harvey also sits on the Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.
Otherwise donating in large and recurring sums to Rothstein’s campaign are the Muellers of Mueller Homes, a luxury home builder based out of Sykesville. As shown in the report above, Paul Mueller Sr. personally made a $2,500 contribution, and presumably his son, Paul Mueller, is the agent on record for Sykesville’s Historic Carriage House II LLC, which made a $4,000 contribution.
So all told, one individual and one family are responsible for more than $8,000 in campaign contributions in just one segment of one election cycle.
While writing this I was reminded of senator Clay Davis from The Wire, who you may recall would take any muthafuckas money if he giving it away.
With him peripherally in mind, how important is all this really? Like who really cares where a small time local politician gets their campaign money from?
I do. And the local public should too.
In fact I would argue that who you accept money from is a defining characteristic of your candidacy. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Especially when that lunch is paid for by high level business people wielding multi-generational wealth, and in the case of Harvey, with deep statist entanglements.
A healthy campaign finance report for a local politician is one with lots of individual contributors, offering up $50 here, $100 there, maybe even $500 if they are able, but start taking many thousands of dollars from just a few people with specific interests, and the appropriate response is skepticism.
Color me biblical, but I’ll take two copper coins from the laborer over gobs of gold from the paperworker anyday.
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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