Glendening contributions exceed four-year limits CAMPAIGN 1994

September 08, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron and John W. Frece | Thomas W. Waldron and John W. Frece,Sun Staff Writers

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parris N. Glendening acknowledged yesterday that his campaign made contributions to two Baltimore political organizations that exceeded legal limits, prompting a flurry of criticism from his rivals.

Moving quickly to control any damage, the campaign said it had asked the organizations for refunds totaling $3,500, the amount that exceeded state limits.

"We're asking for refunds, which will bring us into full compliance," Emily Smith, Glendening campaign manager, said. "And we are complying with both the letter and the spirit of the law."

Rivals, though, suggested that Mr. Glendening should know more about state campaign laws after two decades in elected office.

"He's running for an office where he's supposed to be executing the law, and we find out he's breaking the law," said one opponent, state Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski of Baltimore.

In his most recent campaign financial report filed with the election board, Mr. Glendening reported that his committee had recently given $36,000 to a variety of Baltimore Democrats seeking legislative office.

Among the contributions were a $7,500 transfer to Our Neighborhood Team, which is the 44th District organization of state Sen. Larry Young, and an $8,000 donation to the 40th District Unity Team, whose members include House Appropriations Committee Chairman Howard P. Rawlings.

State law limits transfers between campaign committees to $6,000 during a four-year election cycle.

Ms. Smith said the mistake was apparently rooted in the false assumption that Mr. Glendening was formally a member of the slates to which the money was contributed. There are no limits on the amount of money that can be contributed between members of the same slates.

The excessive transfers represent a tiny fraction of the $3.2 million that Mr. Glendening, the Democratic front-runner, has amassed during the campaign.

Mr. Glendening's contributions to local candidates follow a familiar practice for well-financed statewide candidates. The money is typically used to print sample ballots for Election Day that include the names of both the statewide and local candidates.

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, whose office investigates charges of political corruption, said it was unlikely that the excessive contributions would lead to any criminal charges by his office as long as the amount over the limits is refunded.

"Unless there was a deliberate intent to violate the statute, we would not be persuaded to bring a criminal charge," Mr. Montanarelli said.

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