Democratic congressional candidate Oz Bengur said yesterday that he will file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of using surplus state campaign funds to prepare for his congressional race.
Under federal law, funds raised under state campaign finance laws cannot be used in a congressional race.
Bengur said he believes Ruppersberger, also a Democrat, gained an unfair advantage in the race for Maryland's 2nd District by spending money from his state account on polling, a fund-raising consultant and a mailing to Baltimore County residents.
Ruppersberger's campaign finance report showed that he used his state account to pay a fund-raising consultant $37,800 from October to May and a polling firm $45,500 in January, when he spoke openly of a possible bid for Congress and raised no money for his state account.
Yesterday, Ruppersberger defended the expenditures, saying he was still considering state offices such as governor and lieutenant governor until April 29, the day he announced his run for Congress.
"He still had his options open and was exploring those actively," said Jim Cauley, Ruppersberger's congressional campaign manager.
Bengur filed another complaint with the FEC several months ago after Ruppersberger acknowledged that his campaign volunteers handed out brochures and bumper stickers paid for with state campaign funds. Ruppersberger called the incident a mistake made by eager volunteers on the first day of the campaign.