13 face charges over finance reports

Failure to file election documentation could lead to one-year jail sentence, fines

December 09, 2006|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun reporter

The state prosecutor has filed charges against 13 people who failed to file campaign finance reports, violations that could lead to fines or jail time for political candidates and their aides.

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh said yesterday that all the accused candidates and campaign treasurers were given repeated chances to comply with state law but have refused to do so.

"If they ignore us and fail to come into compliance, then we file charges," he said.

The alleged violations stem from reports that were due early this year, and Rohrbaugh said he expects he will file more charges against those who failed to submit reports due before and after the primary and general elections.

Only one of the accused candidates - former Del. Wendell F. Phillips of Baltimore - ran an active campaign this year. He lost a bid to recapture his old seat in the Democratic primary.

The others were Robert Tousey, a former congressional candidate from Howard County; Fred Maxey, a one-time House of Delegates candidate from Washington County; and David Hanna of Baltimore, who also ran for the House. All of the candidates' campaign treasurers were also charged.

The officials in charge of three political action committees, Leadership PAC, Business PAC and the Bethlehem Steel Maryland PAC, also face charges. The state campaign finance database shows no record of activity by any of the three since 2002.

Each count of failing to file a campaign finance report carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail, a $25,000 fine, or both.

Rohrbaugh said the State Board of Elections referred about 60 delinquent campaign finance accounts to him over the summer. The board had already contacted the owners of the accounts to try to get them to comply with the law, and Rohrbaugh said his office contacted them again.

He filed charges against the remaining 13 in Anne Arundel County District Court. No court dates have been set, he said.

andy.green@baltsun.com

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