When former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich opened the Baltimore office of Womble Carlyle about a month after leaving office three years ago, taking key legal and public relations staff with him, there were those who wondered about the move: Was it a law office, or campaign headquarters?
The Maryland Democratic Party has wondered more vocally over the years, and according to the Baltimore Sun’s Maryland Politics blog, took formal action Thursday by writing to the state Board of Elections, challenging the propriety of the arrangement in light of Ehrlich’s expected return to the political sphere.
Womble Carlyle laid off a bunch of people yesterday, but relax: ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich was not among them.
First of all, the fired employees appear to have been associates and staffers. Second of all, none of the cuts affected Womble’s little 10-professional Baltimore office, a firm spokesman tells me. The spokesman, Russell Thomas, would not confirm how many people in Womble’s other offices were laid off. Third of all, laying off the former governor of Maryland might be considered a teensy bit poor form.
Ehrlich, a few of his former employees from the statehouse, and some of his political allies started Womble’s Baltimore office in 2007 after Ehrlich lost his reelection bid. (Some have speculated, but Womble has denied, that the Womble outpost is a “shadow government” and that Ehrlich and company spend their time planning a rematch with O’Malley.)
So no, Ehrlich won’t be hanging around his house in sweat pants and bunny slippers, eating Bugles and watching daytime TV any time soon. In case you were worried.
UPDATE: WOMBLE RESPONDS
Although blogs have reported that some of those laid off were associates, Thomas said they were all staffers. Some lawyer salaries have been reduced, he said, but the lawyers themselves have not.