The Annapolis Elections Board is looking into possible campaign finance violations by Democratic candidate Dennis Callahan for a poll and fund-raising letter conducted on behalf of his campaign for mayor.
At issue is whether a recent favorable poll for Callahan had the authorization of Callahan's campaign committee or was conducted independently by supporter Wayne Rogers, president of Synergics Energy Development in Annapolis.
Board officials said at a meeting in City Hall last night that the poll and a July 25 letter promoting a fund-raiser next Tuesday for the former mayor at Loews Annapolis Hotel "raised some questions."
But board members said they would not make a ruling until they reviewed the case more thoroughly.
"According to the City Code, an individual who is acting independently has the right to express his particular views and spend his own money to publicize those views," said Richard E. Israel, board chairman. "The question is, 'Was Mr. Rogers acting independently?' "
City election laws require candidates to disclose on campaign finance reports any services or "things" of value contributed to campaigns as in-kind contributions.
The law also requires that a person shall not "contribute any money, professional services or tangible thing of value greater than $2,500 to any candidate for mayor."
Erica Walters, campaign manager for Callahan's leading Democratic opponent, Alderman Carl O. Snowden, urged the board to investigate last night and said, "It seems to me there is sufficient question to keep looking into this."
She said a similar poll conducted by Snowden's campaign cost about $8,500, so if the poll is connected to Callahan's campaign, the contribution would likely exceed the $2,500 limitation on contributions to candidates.
Aldermanic candidate Michael T. Brown, running as an independent in Ward 6, also filed a formal complaint last night asking the board to begin a formal investigation into the case.
In other matters, the Elections Board said a legal technicality in the City Code does not require candidates to report rent or in-kind contributions of office space made to their campaigns.
The question came up last week when Callahan and two Republican mayoral candidates, Alderman Dean L. Johnson of Ward 2 and Alderman M. Theresa DeGraff of Ward 7, understated or failed to list on campaign finance reports office space donated to them.
Pub Date: 8/07/97