Campaign gift prompts complaint

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

October 31, 2006

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s campaign contributed more than $300,000 to a fundraising committee that in turn gave most of the money to fellow Democrat Scott D. Shellenberger's campaign for county state's attorney, prompting a complaint to state prosecutors.

State prosecutors "found no criminal violation of the election laws," according to a letter dated yesterday and provided by Smith's campaign.

Shellenberger received the contributions, reported last night by WBAL-TV, from the Baltimore County Victory Slate last month and this month, according to state campaign finance reports. Other candidates also received money, said Sterling Clifford, Smith's campaign spokesman.

State law limits contributions from one campaign to another to $6,000. Those limits, however, do not apply to slates.

Republican Stephen Bailey, a deputy county state's attorney who is running against Shellenberger, called that distinction "a loophole ... big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through."

Shellenberger countered that contributions from the slate - which account for about half the money he's raised - were "perfectly legitimate," adding, "It doesn't violate the letter or the spirit of the law."

Josh Mitchell and Jennifer McMenamin

White Marsh

Harford man charged in stabbing

A Harford County man has been charged in the stabbing death last week of a man in the parking lot of a business park in White Marsh, police said yesterday.

Vernon Edwin Harris, 34, of the 200 block of Ringneck Court in Havre de Grace is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Floyd Harp of Baltimore, who was found dead shortly after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to police, who said Harris and Harp had been arguing before the stabbing.

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