WaPo: Top O’Malley (D, MD) official ordered document suppression.
[UPDATE]: Red Maryland is also all over this story: see here and here for parts 1 and 2.
(H/T: Jim Geraghty) Background: back in August, the state of Maryland inadvertently put up on its website something that everybody all already knew; which is to say, a report indicating that Maryland’s economy is horrible (if better than the national average, mostly thanks to its proximity to Washington DC) and there was no improvement from June to July 2010. The document was swiftly suppressed (you can read a copy here), given that it directly contradicted official O’Malley administration claims that job growth had continued for five months straight; the administration claimed that 500 jobs had been added, but that’s the seasonally adjusted numbers. The non-seasonally adjusted ones give a loss of over a thousand – but the real point is that the O’Malley administration was spinning a stagnant economy into an improving one as part of its re-election bid, and got rid of a document that admitted that no, it’s a stagnant economy.
Now the Washington Post reports that the ‘state official’ that ordered the document withdrawn was… MD Secretary of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation Alexander Sanchez. That’s a directly appointed position by the governor, by the way: which means that this was not your standard ‘internal bureaucratic decision’ kind of thing. If it had been, then Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation Communications Director Bernie Kohn wouldn’t have carefully established a then-internal paper trail showing that he didn’t trust the numbers, that he didn’t authorize the release of the document that produced them, and that it was not his decision to remove the document in question. That last was all due to the political appointees, in fact.
In other words: there was a top-down decision to suppress critical job information for partisan political purposes, and the big question is: is Governor O’Malley lying when he says that he knew nothing about it?
Moe Lane (Crosspost)
PS: Robert Erhlich for Governor.