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Federal retiree checks up on the speaker


THE EHRLICH administration stepped back from using its version of the nuclear option when it said it wouldn't answer the legislature's probe into GOP personnel practices by exposing all the friends and relatives that Democrats have hired.

But that didn't stop one Anne Arundel Republican from working on some freelance fission.

William P. Davis, a retired federal worker from Odenton, sent the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks a request for records on its deputy director, Michael E. Busch, who is better known as the speaker of the House of Delegates and thorn in the side of Annapolis Republicans.

Davis requested copies of Busch's job description, time sheets, expense reports, overtime records, phone logs, appointment calendars and correspondence to get at the question of whether the speaker is doing real work for the county or has been set up with a sinecure that allows him to legislate on the county taxpayers' dime.

"Instead of the spotlight being shone all the time on what the governor has done, somebody needs to look at the other side," Davis said.

Davis said he is not working in concert with the Ehrlich administration.

Busch said he was aware of Davis' request and that the department would comply with it, as it has with several similar requests from others over the years.

He said he is confident that Davis will find nothing untoward about his employment. Busch said he was hired 26 years ago - eight years before he was elected to the House - by a Republican county executive. He has worked for two other Republican executives since then, he said.

"I don't think my job has anything to do with my political career," Busch said.

Schaefer and the politics of immigration - again

A year after complaining about the English skills of a McDonald's cashier, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer waded back into the politics of immigration last week.

At Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting, Schaefer, who was absent for a funeral, asked an aide to read a statement into the record: "He insists that all contractors awarded construction contracts comply fully with all U.S. immigration laws and that the contractors hire only those employees who are legally authorized to work in this country."

Schaefer spokesman Michael Golden said the statement wasn't prompted by any particular incident but is something the comptroller has been thinking about for some time.

Physicians being urged to seek political office

Frustrated by what it considers inadequate limits on medical malpractice lawsuits passed by the legislature in last year's special session, a political action committee affiliated with the Maryland state medical society, MedChi, is asking physicians to run for office and pledging to help bankroll their campaigns.

Dr. Mark Seigel, chairman of the Physicians for Tort Reform Political Action Committee, said in a news release last week that he wants to raise $1 million to support the campaigns of doctors from both parties running for the legislature.

So far, the committee is supporting Sen. Andrew P. Harris, a Baltimore County Republican and anesthesiologist; Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat and emergency room physician; Dr. Ron Elfenbein, an Anne Arundel County Republican and emergency room physician who says he will run for either the House or Senate; and Dr. John Young, a Montgomery County Democrat and an obstetrician/gynecologist, who is considering a campaign for the House.

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