News Column

Craig, George allege 'numerous' campaign violations by Hogan campaign

May 21, 2014

By Alex Jackson, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.



May 21--Republican candidates for governor David Craig and Ron George have filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections, alleging Larry Hogan's campaign violated "numerous" campaign finance laws.

In a complaint filed Wednesday, Craig and George allege Hogan's campaign failed to disclose donations to Change Maryland and expenditures by the nonprofit used for Hogan's campaign.

Including donations to Change Maryland, Craig and George say Hogan's campaign may have accepted more than allowed under state law from some individuals.

At a press conference Wednesday in Annapolis, George accused Hogan of having "no respect for the law." Craig said any money raised for Hogan's campaign under the auspices of Change Maryland LLC should be disqualified.

Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the Board of Elections, said a thorough review would be handled as swiftly as possible given the primary election is June 24.

Hogan's campaign claims it did not violate any campaign finance rules because Change Maryland has been owned by Hogan's campaign since the campaign started, said Adam Dubitsky, a spokesman for the Hogan campaign.

Hogan's campaign in its April campaign finance report did report purchasing assets from Change Maryland.

Dubitsky said "Paid For by Hogan-Rutherford" is clearly stated on Change Maryland's website and on the "about" page of Change Maryland's Facebook page.

"The entire premise of these allegations by two desperate campaigns is utterly absurd and patently false," Dubitsky said. "Our campaign has worked closely with the Maryland Board of Elections to ensure from day one that we comply fully with all state laws."

In 2011, Hogan started Change Maryland, a 527 nonprofit that has labeled itself as "a grassroots movement fighting to bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to Annapolis."

In 2013, according to IRS filings, Change Maryland spent $213,040 and received $145,995 in contributions.

Hogan, an Anne Arundel County real estate broker who lives in Edgewater, didn't officially announce he was running for governor until January.

But Craig and George said it was assumed Hogan was running long before he filed.

Craig's and George's complaint calls Change Maryland a "media outlet" and says its Facebook page feed has been "dominated by the Hogan Campaign."

A Change Maryland post on Aug. 17, 2013, shares a link to a Washington Post story that reports Hogan is "looking closely at launching a 2014 gubernatorial bid."

DeMarinis said the elections board would look into whether "coordination and cooperation" laws to see if any violations occurred.

Craig and George said they hoped for a quick response.

"We will review the complaint and make a determination quickly as we can on the matter," DeMarinis said.

Craig and George's press conference came less than two hours after Hogan's campaign announced it had cleared the threshold of $258,612 in small contributions needed to qualify for public financing of his campaign.

By clearing that barrier, Hogan would become the first candidate on the Republican side to qualify for public matching funds in the June 24 primary. Under that law, only individual contributions of $250 or less are eligible for matching funds.

Hogan said if he wins the primary, the accomplishment will guarantee his campaign $2.6 million in public funding for his general election campaign.

The fourth GOP candidate running for governor, Charles County businessman Charles Lollar, did not attend Wednesday's press conference.

___

(c)2014 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)

Visit The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) at www.hometownannapolis.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



Source: Capital (Annapolis, MD)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters