The three delegates from Baltimore's 45th Legislative District are all delinquent in filing campaign finance disclosures, and each has racked up more than $1,000 in late fees over the past four years.
The delegation's record of filing the required reports was by far the worst in the Baltimore metropolitan area, according to election board records.
Del. Clarence Davis hasn't made a disclosure since January 2000 and has missed six straight reports. His campaign owes $1,590 in uncollected fees for lateness. According to the elections board, his case has been referred to the state prosecutor's office.
Del. Talmadge Branch hasn't filed a disclosure all year, and his campaign has pending late fees of $770. Earlier in his term his campaign paid $230.
Del. Hattie N. Harrison's campaign owes $270 for failing to submit her disclosures due in October and last month. Her campaign previously paid $1,440 in fees for late reports since the 1998 election.
A review by The Sun found that local legislators generally file reports on time detailing their campaign contributions and expenditures, though it's not unusual to be a few days late. It appeared that legislators in the city, who are all Democrats, and Harford County had more difficulty complying with the deadlines than their colleagues in Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties.
In Baltimore's 46th District, Del. Carolyn J. Krysiak's campaign is now current after paying $1,850 in late fees since 1998 for reports as late as a full year. In the 40th District, Del. Tony E. Fulton kept his streak of 11 consecutive late reports intact by filing his Oct. 25 and Nov. 26 reports on Dec. 2. He or his campaign officials have paid $600 and owe $870 in fees.
Under Maryland law, the campaign treasurer and chairman are liable for the fees. In reality, the candidate often ends up paying out of his or her own pocket.
Davis said he has not been able to file because his campaign has not had access to a computer. Candidates have been required to file their reports on computer disks since 1999.
The veteran delegate said he has been told it would be illegal for him to use his state-provided computer.
Davis said that he recently gained access to his sister's computer and that he would soon bring his reports up to date. He said he has paid $750 for his late reports, but Ross Goldstein of the state elections board said those payments applied to late filings during his previous term.
Branch said his campaign treasurer had difficulty with the software provided by the elections board. He said he has hired an accountant to bring his reports up to date and that they would be filed today. He said he plans to appeal for a waiver of the late fees.
Harrison said she didn't know the elections board hadn't received her last two reports. She said her campaign treasurer thought they had been sent.
The only other area legislator who had a report missing yesterday was Baltimore's Del. Samuel I. Rosenberg, whose campaign owed $90 for failing to file its Nov. 26 disclosure. Rosenberg, whose previous reports had been on time, could not be reached for comment.
All of the area's Republican legislators are up to date with their reports, but some missed deadlines. Sen. Robert H. Kittleman of Howard County, an advocate of strong ethics legislation, led GOP lawmakers with $390 in late fees, of which $130 remains unpaid.