The Campaign Spot

Moranic Politics, Part One

Washington Post reporters and columnist Marc Fisher take a look at some unusual legal work on the part of Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran:

Farouq Massoud, whose taxi companies have held the Dulles contract on and off for many years, was an unlikely candidate to win back the business he had lost in 2005. Unlikely, [rival taxi company owner Jerry] Schaeffer contends, until Massoud hired as his attorney Brian Moran, the state delegate from Alexandria who is now running for governor . . .

Moran did represent Massoud in the businessman’s latest successful bid to win the Dulles contract. But the candidate says he did not lobby members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. “I just consulted with Massoud,” Moran tells me. “I met with the drivers and got some concessions from Massoud — a new waiting area for the drivers, for example — so that the drivers would support his bid.”

The Schaeffers argue that Moran’s longtime friend and adviser, former airports authority chairman Mary “Mame” Reiley — who has been a senior aide to Democrats Rep. Jim Moran (Brian’s older brother), Sen. Mark Warner and Gov. Tim Kaine — should have recused herself from the vote on the Dulles taxi contract because of her close ties to Moran. Moran disagrees: “Mame’s been a friend for a long time, but she wasn’t on my staff until spring of ‘08,” and the vote on the Dulles contract took place in 2007 . . .

Jerry Schaeffer says his company lost the bid despite offering to pay a higher fee to the airports authority than his competitors and offering the highest minority participation. “Massoud beat the authority out of $1.2 million,” Schaeffer says, a reference to the 2003 finding by a Fairfax County court that Massoud failed to make good on his debt to the airports authority. “So how did he get back in?”

Hmmm. Lower bid, past problem with debt to the airport, but still gets the contract? Doesn’t this smell a little funny to anyone else?

And will either Terry McAuliffe or Creigh Deeds make an issue of it with a month left before the primary?