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Lobbyist boasted of access to O’Malley during trade mission

A spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O’Malley called boasting by an Annapolis lobbying powerhouse about its participation in a gubernatorial trade mission “unfortunate” Monday.

Alexander & Cleaver P.A. sent emails on May 28 and June 2 to clients publicizing lobbyist Hannah Powers traveling with the governor and more than 70 others on part of his trip to Asia.

Powers “will be spending many hours with the Governor, Secretary of the [Department] of Business and Economic Development [Christian Johansson], and other senior staff,” wrote Robin F. Shaivitz, chief operating officer of the firm’s lobbying division

“If you have any important messages that you want her to deliver to the Governor, please contact her before Sunday,” Shaivitz followed up five days later.

The emails were first reported by The Baltimore Sun. The Daily Record is a client of Alexander & Cleaver.

O’Malley left May 31 and is due back June 11 after visits to China, South Korea and Vietnam. Powers was to participate in the Korean leg of the trip — June 7-9 — and lobby on behalf of client JX3Energy.

O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the lobbyist would have “little, if any” access to the governor during that time, but added “we were not pleased that the letter went out.”

“She is working on behalf of a client here to negotiate a business deal over there,” Guillory said. “She’s not on the state dime or anything like that.”

O’Malley and top state officials, including Johansson and Secretary of State John P. McDonough, are accompanied by a 68-member delegation of educators and business leaders on the trip. DBED is paying for seven state officials to make the trip, while others on the trip are paying their own way.

Shaivitz said she communicates information like that included in the two emails on a regular basis, and “certainly didn’t mean to put anyone in any bad position.”

“I’m sure that I have written many more interesting things in my emails,” she said. “And I am disappointed that my email to my clients was distributed more widely.”

Alexander & Cleaver is one of the most prominent lobbying outfits in the State House, and counts among its ranks former high-ranking state delegate Gary R. Alexander and Casper R. “Cas” Taylor Jr., the Speaker of the House from 1994 to 2003.

The firm reported having the second-most lucrative lobbying business in Annapolis last year, racking up $3.4 million in billings from Nov. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2010.

One comment

  1. Maryland Esquire

    This is what lobbyists do. Their whole raison d’etre is access and influence. I’m sure all of the highest paid lobbying firms have sent emails like this to their clients. I’m also positive that the verbal conversations are probably far more interesting than anything they ever put in writing.