Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, September 16, 2013

City Candidates Should Pledge to Honor Contribution Limits

George Wenschhof

It is the “spirit of the law”, not the letter of the law, that should be followed by candidates in The City of Frederick election.

On the night the first candidate campaign finance reports were due, I reported $20,000 had been funneled into Democratic Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett’s mayoral campaign via multiple entities associated with local developer Marvin Ausherman.  Another $10,000 was received via entities associated with Pleasants construction, another local developer.  The $30,000 in contributions was half of what the campaign received in the first report.

In addition, alderman Karen Young, who won the Democratic primary for mayor, received $7,500 from three entities associated with local businessman John Fitzgerald.
None of the contributions appeared to violate the campaign contribution limit of $2,500 per individual or entity for mayoral candidates.

I followed up with another article on August 30 and The Frederick News Post published a well written piece by reporter Jen Bondeson on September 7, three days prior to the primary election.
The Frederick News Post added an excellent editorial today.

Whether the articles had any influence on the outcome of the primary election will never be known. 

However, it is important for voters to know if the candidates running in the general election for mayor and the five seats on the board of alderman will follow the intent of the law.

The undue influence of money in politics has been the scourge of voters for quite some time, who often feel their voice to elected officials is drowned out by those with much deeper pockets.

It will take time to amend the law to prohibit multiple donations from a single person coming from numerous entities associated with them.

What may also be disturbing, is I have even heard it said, the present $2,500 contribution limit per person can also be skirted around by a husband and wife each separately donating $2,500 and then together issuing a donation for $2,500, equaling a total of $7,500.

This is obviously not the intent or “spirit of the law” and hopefully, the law will soon be amended to correct the existing loopholes.

In the meantime, city candidates for mayor and alderman should commit to receiving, from this point on, to the best of their knowledge, no more than $2,500 from any one person or entity.

Updated: 11:39 AM - city alderman Michael O'Connor corrected me, when he answered he "would comply with both the letter and the spirit", by pointing out the limit for alderman candidates is $1,000 and it is $2,500 for mayoral candidates.

It would be a good thing for the remaining candidates to do and would help restore the faith of the voters.

Stay Tuned.
Your Donations to Frederick Politics are needed and appreciated - Please click on the Donation Button in right hand margin of page - Thank You!


Michael O'Connor said...

Alderman candidates are capped at $1,000, and I will certainly comply with both the letter and the spirit.

Donna Kuzemchak said...

Yes, I commit to complying with both the letter and spirit of the law, as I have always done so.