Maryland Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District is quite the character.
In May 2020, Mr. Harris picked up the phone and called Matthew Adams, the third vice-chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.
Mr. Harris was enraged at the time over a blog post that Matt Adams wrote.
Adams only referenced a Congressional ethics investigation into Andy Harris’ campaign finance account.
But the ethics investigation involved Andy Harris’ wife, Nicole Beus Harris.
And this is where this story begins.
Read on to learn what happened between Matthew Adams and Andy Harris.
Maryland Congressman Andy Harris Made A Phone Call
“Get this, weasel Andy Harris calls me and curses at me. Claimed he will take me down. Threats now?”
Matt Adams published the Facebook post above in May 2020.
But first, some history.
Maryland Republican politics are brutal; there’s so much internal conflict.
Andy Harris and Matt Adams hated one another.
But there were friends at some point in the past.
You should know a few things about Matt Adams before reading any further:
- He never backed down from a political fight.
- He was willing to say aloud the things that other people were too afraid to say.
- He was fiercely loyal to his political allies.
- You either loved or hated Matt.
- And he always brought the receipts.
Mr. Adams spilled the beans about his phone call with Andy Harris.
He talked to A Miner Detail first, soon after his memorable phone call with Andy Harris.
“Andy Harris called me at 3:26 and 3:27 pm [May 2020],” Adams said.
“I missed his call and tried calling him back.”
“As I was calling Harris back, he called me from a different number. I picked up, and he started screaming and shouting at me.”
Why would a United States congressman scream and curse at one of his constituents?
Andy Harris was irate with Matthew Adams because Adams mentioned his wife, Nicole Beus Harris, in his blog post.
Adams once wrote a blog called “Fight for Maryland.”
The “Fight for Maryland” blog is no longer an active web domain.
(You’ll understand why later.)
Andy Harris felt he had to respond to Adams.
So he picked up the phone and called Matt.
Matthew Adams wasn’t the first to raise questions over Andy Harris paying his wife from his campaign account.
So why was Harris so mad at Adams?
Probably because Andy Harris believes that fellow Republicans shouldn’t attack one another.
For context, Adams published the following to his blog in 2020:
“With no other remedy at hand, the state party contracted with Indy’s Services, and Andy Harris for Congress made donations as needed to fund her position — always supplying a little extra for the state party’s troubles.
This financial quid-pro-quo was run through the MDGOP Federal Account, and Indy’s Services was paid from the same.”
It wasn’t as if Matthew Adams pulled the allegation about Nicole Beus Harris from thin air.
Nicole Beus Harris
Andy Harris and Nicole Beus Harris were married in July 2017.
Mr. Harris was married to Sylvia “Cookie” Harris for 30 years.
Anyone who knew Cookie Harris loved Cookie Harris. She was a wonderful person and a passionate pro-life advocate.
In August 2014, Cookie Harris died suddenly.
Andy Harris began dating Nicole Beus a few months after his wife died.
Nicole Beus was a Republican political consultant and fundraiser when she and Andy Harris began dating.
Maryland State Democratic Party Files Ethics Complaint Against Andy Harris In 2017
In October 2017, The Washington Post wrote a story about Nicole Beus Harris’ working for her husband’s congressional campaign.
Nicole Beus Harris was paid more than $26,000 in 2017 by the Harris campaign.
But the Maryland Democratic Party (and Matthew Adams) believed the Harris campaign had violated congressional ethics policy.
The Maryland Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Andy Harris with the U.S Office of Congressional Ethics.
The state Democratic Party argued that Andy Harris “may have violated ethics rules requiring members to report the sources of spousal income and assets.”
“It appears Andy Harris paid his wife thousands of dollars from his campaign, then tried to hide it from government ethics regulators,” former Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews said.
So what’s the truth?
Rep. Andy Harris’ congressional campaign told the Post the campaign finance omission was a “mistake.”
Did the Harris campaign fix its mistake?
The Harris campaign said it did.
The Harris campaign told the Post they amended the campaign fiance report once they became aware of their “mistake.”
Andy Harris Calls Matthew Adams a Fucking Asshole
You’re a fucking asshole,” Andy Harris shouted at Matthew Adams through the telephone.
That’s what Matt Adams told A Miner Detail.
He said this about his call with Andy Harris:
“He just railed on me.
“He was so belligerent that I could hardly keep up with him. He just kept screaming at me.”
Adams said that Andy Harris hung up on Adams about a minute into their phone call.
Before hanging up the phone, Adams said Harris threatened him.
“I’m going to fucking take you down,” Harris reportedly shouted at Adams.
Then Harris hit his cell phone’s end button.
Adams said Andy Harris wasn’t the only person on the call who cursed.
“I told that mother fucker to kiss my ass!” he said.
A Subplot: Ambrose vs. Waterman
There was something stuck in Matthew Adams’ craw.
It was the 2020 Republican national committeewoman race.
Adams said Andy Harris “didn’t have the dignity to return Diana Waterman’s phone call when she announced her bid for national committeewoman.”
“That pissed me off,” he said.
In spring 2020, Diana Waterman decided to run for the Maryland Republican national committeewoman seat.
Waterman is a former Maryland Republican Party chairwoman.
Nicolee Ambrose was Maryland’s incumbent Republican national committeewoman at the time.
Matthew Adams supported Diana Waterman; Andy Harris supported Nicolee Ambrose.
The national committeewoman race became one of the ugliest intra-party contests in recent MDGOP history.
Maryland Republican Party insiders re-elected Ambrose over Waterman at their virtual spring convention.
Nicolee Ambrose hopes to join Andy Harris in Congress soon.
In spring 2022, Ambrose launched a Republican congressional bid in Maryland’s 2nd congressional district.
Ambrose would take on longtime Baltimore Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D) if the November general election.
But Ambrose must first win the 2nd District’s Republican primary on July 19.
Andy Harris Accuses Matt Adams of Lying and
A Miner Detailed reached out to Andy Harris for a response after learning about his phone call with Matthew Adams.
John Dutton, the congressman’s chief of staff, confirmed that Harris and Adams spoke on the phone.
But Dutton accused Adams of lying about the phone call.
“Mr. Adams’ quote about the Congressman cursing is unequivocally a lie,” Dutton said.
Then Dutton accused Matthew Adams of libeling Nicole Beus Harris.
“Mr. Adams lied about his wife in a blatantly dishonest and libelous blog post.”
But Matthew Adams was sticking to his story.
When reached, Mr. Adams said he’d “take a lie detector test.”
“I bet Andy Harris won’t take a lie detector test. I have nothing to lie about,” Adams told A Miner Detail.
Adams had more to say after his intense phone call with Harris:
“I used to think Andy Harris was a good guy, a Christian man…”
“I have always voted for Andy Harris – but I will NOT vote for him in the future.”
“I will not eat shit from a rusty spoon for Andy Harris,” Adams said.
Andy Harris Requests MDGOP Chair Dirk Haire Remove Matthew Adams
The feud between Andy Harris and Matthew Adams had escalated.
Andy Harris was hellbent on sticking it to Adams.
The congressman emailed Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire and the state GOP executive committee.
Andy Harris made an urgent plea to the MDGOP state party:
Remove Matthew Adams from his Maryland Republican Party third vice chairmanship and the Somerset County Republican Central Committee.
The Andy Harris Email
A Maryland GOP executive committee member forwarded A Miner Detail a copy of Andy Harris’ plea to remove Matthew Adams from his official Party duties.
“Today, Matt Adams launches an unprecedented, baseless ethics attack on me, and of more concern to me, on my wife.
He even had the nerve to imply a nefarious motive after the untimely death of my late wife almost six years ago now.
He not only reiterated false ethics claims (proven to be untrue) made against me by my last Democrat opponent [Jesse Colvin] – he took them to a higher (or should I say lower) level.
When I contacted him to express my dismay at him involving my wife, he lied on social posts about what I said to him, and then he told his lies to Ryan Miner, who, of course, is more than willing to publish a ‘story’ about this.”
Yes, Ryan Miner was more than willing to write about a congressional ethics complaint.
“I’m used to unfounded attacks from Democrats, but I’m not used to blatantly false attacks from a member of the state GOP Executive Committee.
And his [Adams] attempt to spread disinformation to unfriendly (blogger) press like Ryan Miner (and perhaps other media) should be if (sic) grave concern to the Party and to you all, its leadership.
I would ask you to take any and all steps possible to remove Mr. Adams completely from any official role in the Party,” Harris wrote in his email.
He is very bad for the Party and (sic) it’s ability to function in confidential matters when we all know how unfriendly the press can be to Republicans.
I don’t know what has happened to Matt, but I hope you agree that immediate removal is now called for.
Thank you for all you have done to advance conservatism and for working to re-elect Mr. Trump.
We really can’t let one very bad apple ruin our whole barrel.”
Mr. Harris nor his staff responded to follow-up questions submitted by A Miner Detail.
In 2020, Mr. Harris co-chaired Donald Trump’s Maryland re-election campaign.
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. defeated Donald Trump by over 33 points in 2020.
About Andy Harris
Andy Harris is a physician and served in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1988 to 2010.
His political career began when he was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1998 from state Senate District 9, encompassing parts of Baltimore County.
In 2002, Andy Harris’ Senate district was redrawn; he was re-elected – but in Maryland Senate District 7.
In 2008, Andy Harris was ready to commute to Washington from his home in Cockeysville.
Harris ran for the United States Congress in 2008 in District 1 and defeated longtime incumbent Maryland Republican Wayne Gilchrest in the Republican primary by running to Gilchrest’s political right.
He lost in the 08′ general election to Democrat Frank Kratovil, conceding to Mr. Kratovil on November 11 that year.
But Harris was determined to go to Congress.
In 2010, the Tea Party movement had swept the country.
The conservative populist movement ushered over 50 fresh-faced Republican congressmen and women.
The Republicans had it all.
In 2011, the House of Representatives switched parties.
A decade ago, Republicans could still compromise with their Democratic colleagues.
If you’re a Republican and mention compromise, the Republican base would call you a Republican in Name Only – a so-called “RINO.”
Here’s a brief run-down of what happened in American (and Maryland) politics in 2010:
- The U.S. House flipped from Democrat to Republican.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become the House minority leader.
- Ohio Congressman John Boehner was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich lost his third Maryland gubernatorial campaign to Martin O’Malley, re-elected to a second term.
- Longtime Hagerstown state Senator Don Munson was defeated by Chris Shank in Maryland’s state Senate District 2 Republican primary.
And Andy Harris would go on to defeat 1st District Congressman Frank Kratovil by 14 points.
Andy Harris was off to Congress.
Mr. Harris has faced only marginal Democratic opposition since he was sworn into Congress in January 2011.
Fast forward to 2022:
- Despite telling voters he’d impose term limits on himself, Andy Harris is running for re-election, a pledge that he didn’t keep.
- He has no Republican primary opponent in the 1st District.
- There’s no love lost between Harris and popular Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
- And Mr. Harris sails into the November general election as the heavy favorite to win re-election to the United States Congress.
Mr. Harris will face off with one of two Democrats in the November general election:
- Former Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur; or
- Career U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer (SFS) R. David Harden.
Matthew Adams’ Death
Matthew Adams died from terminal cancer at age 51 on April 18, 2021.
Read Matthew Adams’ obituary below:
Matthew F. Adams, “Matt,” 51, passed away at his residence on April 18, 2021, surrounded by his close friends.
He was born December 28, 1969, in Milford, Delaware, to Michael Adams and the late Wilma Adams Lewis.
Matt attended college in Columbus, Ohio, for computer science and owned Shorefast Internet and Go Delmarva.
He also dedicated a big part of his life to politics.
Over the years, he served many roles across the area.
He served as President and Chairman of the Somerset County GOP and third vice-chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.
He was a huge supporter of many county Republican Central Committees of Maryland during his term as 3rd Vice Chairman and afterward.
He logged many miles driving to surrounding counties to support their events.
He hosted many websites and Facebook pages dedicated to politics and was an ardent Trump supporter.
Matt had a love for people and politics.
When he was not running his business or participating in politics, he enjoyed being outdoors gardening and metal detecting.
He is survived by his father, Michael Adams, and his stepmother Debbie, his brother and sisters, Sky Adams, Cameron Adams, Melissa Grise, and many very close and special friends.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Wilma Adams Lewis.
On Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, funeral services will be held at 11 am at Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury.
A visitation will be held one hour before the service. Interment will follow the services at Wicomico Memorial Park in Salisbury.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Matt’s memory to Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, MD 21802.”