the duly elected mayor of Baltimore, the time is ripe to see how she pulled off her hands-down victory. The money raised and spent on her campaign between Jan. 18 and Oct. 24 is available online, and the question is: How best to analyze the data? Something that happened in the middle of the election season gave the Count an idea.
Political donors' addresses were taken off the state's online campaign-finance database briefly this summer. As one election official put it to the Annapolis
, having such information so easily available might have a "chilling effect on contributions" to political campaigns. The addresses were yanked during the shank of the pre-election fundraising frenzy in Baltimore City but have since been restored. There appears not to have been a "chilling effect," at least as far as Dixon's victorious campaign committee is concerned. Friends for Sheila Dixon raised and spent nearly $2 million to get her elected this year, about the same as then-Mayor Martin O'Malley's campaign spent to get him re-elected in 2003.
"No sinister motives" were behind the temporary downtime for online donor addresses, the election official explained in August. Nonetheless, the Count sensed something potentially illuminating, and set about to see what happens when Dixon's donations and spending are ranked by address.
Looking at the top five addresses in each category reveals the fact that hardly any money on this list was raised or spent in Baltimore City. It also shows that the money coming into Dixon's account from these addresses exceeds the four-year limits of $4,000 from individuals and businesses and $6,000 from other political campaigns. Loopholes exist to allow donors to sidestep these constraints, so all of this may be perfectly legal--though Dixon's campaign records indicate efforts were made to return excessive contributions from two of the top five donor addresses listed below. More generally, the ranking-by-address approach to analyzing Dixon's fundraising and spending paints a helpful picture of who helped her most to get votes in 2007.
Money Raised from . . .
5627 Allentown Road, Suites No. 206 and No. 207, Camp Springs 20746: $11,000
One thousand dollars of the $11,000 raised from this address was returned by the Dixon campaign, in an effort to keep the donor--the Baltimore-Washington Laborers District Council, a 7,000-member union of construction workers headed by business manager Gene Pinder--from exceeding the limits. Still, this union's extreme generosity to the mayor's campaign was dwarfed by the carpenters', whose various state and regional councils managed to come up with a grand total of $18,000 for Mayor Dixon in 2007.
7850 Walker Drive, Suite 400, Greenbelt 20770: $9,750
Though the name "Bozzuto" does not appear among the donors from this address, it is the corporate headquarters of the Bozzuto Group (www.bozzuto.com), a multifaceted real-estate services firm with nearly 1,000 employees. BA Charles Street LLC, whose resident agent is Bozzuto Group founding partner Richard L. Mostyn, gave $1,750 of the total. Spinnaker Bay, a Bozzuto project at Harbor East on the Baltimore waterfront, kicked in another $4,000 from this address, as did an entity referred to simply as "University of Baltimore Apartments." Presumably, that money came from a corporate entity involved in the Fitzgerald at UB Midtown, a recently announced project with market-rate apartments in which Bozzuto is partnered with the University of Baltimore and Gould Property Co.
99 Painters Mill Road, Owings Mills 21117: $9,500
The money flowing into Dixon's coffers from this address is all from Edward L. Dopkin's catering and restaurant group, which includes the Classic Catering People ($3,500), Miss Shirley's ($3,000), Loco Hombre ($1,000), and Classic Coldspring West LLC ($2,000). A $4,000 "refund for exceeding limit" was disbursed to "Eddie Dopkin" of a different North Baltimore address on Oct. 18, according to Dixon campaign records. Meanwhile, Dopkin did alright on the deal; the campaign used his catering services to the tune of $18,346.06.
429 N. Eutaw St., Suite 3N, Baltimore 21201: $9,000
This is where Dixon raised money from 429 N. Eutaw Ltd. Partnership ($3,000), 424 N. Eutaw LLC ($4,000), and Towner Management Co. ($2,000). All are tied to developer Jay T. French of the French Co. In addition, French and his wife each gave another $4,000 from their address in Bethesda. The Eutaw Street office also received payments from the Dixon campaign, totaling $3,500 in rent to Towner Management.
77 Bloomfield Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314: $8,250
Donations from Carp Construction Corp. ($4,000), Carp-Seca Corp. ($4,000), and Kamac Trucking Corp. ($250) were made to the Dixon campaign from this address. In April, Carp-Seca sued Baltimore City over a $41 million contract to build the Lower Stony Run Interceptor in the Jones Falls sewer shed. The case was settled in July.
Money SENT TO . . .
9990 Lee Highway, Suite 210, Fairfax, VA 22030: $657,691
Over the course of four weeks in August, leading up to the September primary, Dixon's campaign made payments to the suburban Washington office of political consulting firm Media Strategies and Research. The Denver-based company buys targeted advertising for Democratic clients.
4900 Seminary Road, Suite 1020, Alexandria, VA 22311: $242,764.67
Dixon's second-highest payee also is located in D.C.'s Virginia suburbs, and also is a Democratic political consultant: Mack/Crounse Group, which specializes in direct-mailing services. Its other clients include governors Bill Richardson (N.M.) and Ed Rendell (Pa.), numerous members of Congress, and a variety of unions and left-leaning issue campaigns.
17 W. Courtland St., Suite 210, Bel Air 21014: $142,648.85
From its Bel Air offices, Rice Consulting helps clients with "fundraising, incumbency protection and grassroots organizing," according to the company's online profile of its owner, Rachael Rice. Dixon is one of Rice Consulting's two most prominent clients; the other is Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith.
508-510 Eighth St. SE, Washington 20003: $99,982.94
The Feldman Group, a Democratic polling firm headed by Diane Feldman, is based at this address. The firm recently attracted attention when U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign hired a former Feldman Group pollster, Cornell Belcher, to join its team.
1028 33rd St. NE, Suite 300, Washington 20007: $77,316
The national capital is also home to the Dixon campaign's fifth-ranking payee, Dixon/Davis Media Group, a Democratic marketing outfit headed by David Dixon (no relation to the mayor) and Rich Davis.
One-Woman Rule: Sheila Dixon was elected on Nov. 6