Carroll Digest

Carroll Digest

October 13, 2002

Political status of organization is under review

State election officials are looking into whether a Carroll County organization that mailed fliers promoting a slate of candidates for commissioner in the Sept. 10 Republican primary should have to register as a political action committee.

The group, Responsible Republicans of Carroll County LLC, failed to include a line stating who authorized and paid for a series of fliers it mailed before the primary, Ross Goldstein, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the State Board of Elections, wrote in a letter to the group's founder. Goldstein ordered the group to include the information on any future mailings and said the state may eventually require the group to register itself as an official committee.

Westminster developer Gerald Ryan manages the group and supervised the mailing, which endorsed the three ultimate winners in the GOP commissioners primary, incumbent Julia Walsh Gouge, Dean Minnich and Perry L. Jones Jr. Goldstein's letter said state election officials learned of the mailing from a previous letter sent by Robert Wolfing, chairman of Carroll's Republican State Central Committee.

In a written response to the state Friday, Ryan described the organization, stating that its funding comes from members who purchased interests in it. The letter does not name the members, but its Web site lists a seven-person executive committee. In the letter, Ryan said the organization would comply with the state's order.

Sierra Club branch endorses candidates

The branch of the Sierra Club that includes Carroll County has endorsed one Republican and two Democrats in this year's commissioner election.

The club endorsed incumbent Republican Julia Walsh Gouge for a second straight election, citing her battles against her fellow commissioners on growth issues and on construction of a water treatment plant at Piney Run Park.

The club also endorsed Democrats Jeannie Nichols and Neil Ridgely, citing Nichols' expertise on water issues and Ridgely's long history as an activist on growth and environmental issues.

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