Dashiell admits violating election law

Guilty plea entered over `walk-around money'

May 06, 1999|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County school board member and failed state Senate candidate Robert Fulton Dashiell pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore District Court to violating Maryland's election law banning "walk-around money" being paid to campaign workers.

Dashiell, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat state Sen. Delores G. Kelley, a 10th District Democrat, was fined $500 and given probation before judgment by Judge Kathleen M. Sweeney after he agreed to a statement of facts proposed by Assistant State Prosecutor Isabel M. Cumming.

According to the statement, "there were workers who attended no training sessions and only worked the day of the election" but were paid $125 each at Dashiell's instruction after the polls closed Sept. 15. Maryland law specifically prohibits paying campaign helpers for working Election Day.

Besides the fine, Dashiell, an attorney, owes $700 in fines to the state election board for submitting campaign finance reports late.

"The man came in and admitted he made a mistake ," said State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, who backed the probation before judgment agreement.

Dashiell blamed the incident on Julius Henson, his campaign manager, who was in charge of political strategy and financing. Dashiell, who said he wants to serve a second term on the county school board when his first five-year stint expires in July, agreed to the statement because, he said yesterday, "I wanted it over."

Henson was not available for comment yesterday.

According to the statement, Dashiell paid 83 workers election night -- with money from his own pocket, he said. "I didn't know what the law said until two weeks before I met with the state prosecutor. It was a side of the business I didn't want to know, but I was forced to learn," he said.

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