Group urged to register as political committee

GOP organization's fliers promoted candidates

October 25, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

State elections officials have recommended that a Carroll County organization that mailed fliers promoting a slate of candidates for commissioner in the Republican primary Sept. 10 consider registering as a political action committee.

Although a state elections official wrote that Responsible Republicans of Carroll County LLC appears to meet the definition of a political committee under state statutes, the official said that "uncertainty" in this area of law led state lawyers to advise against requiring the group to register as a political committee.

"Nonetheless, I would recommend that you consider forming as a political committee and conducting all of the RROCC's campaign activity through that entity," Ross K. Goldstein, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the state Board of Supervisors of Elections, wrote in a letter to the Carroll group.

In sending a series of fliers before the primary, the group failed to include a line stating who authorized and paid for the campaign materials. Goldstein ordered the group this month to include that information on future mailings, and said the state eventually might require the group to register as an official committee.

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

In a written response to the state this month, 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 to include authorization lines in future mailings.

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