Hogan accuses Brown of illegal coordination

September 08, 2014|Erin Cox | The Baltimore Sun

Republican Larry Hogan filed a formal elections complaint against Anthony G. Brown last week, accusing his Democratic opponent of illegally coordinating with a political action committee in the race for governor.

Hogan alleges that Brown's campaign broke state election laws by sharing fundraising consultants with a super PAC Hogan said was created to aid Brown's bid.

In the Hogan's complaint, his campaign alleged said that sharing fundraising - and just political - consultants constitutes coordination between the two operations. Coordination between a political action committee and a campaign is illegal under state law.

"Finance consulting is not a ministerial role in a campaign," Hogan's attorneys wrote in the Sept. 4 complaint to the Board of Elections. "To be effective, it requires intimate knowledge of campaign strategy, timelines, and research. A finance consultant is also very intimately involved in the budgeting of a campaign and arguably plays the most important role in that budget - the revenue. "

Hogan highlighted that Brown's campaign finance reports for Friends of Anthony Brown show he employed two fundraising consultants who also work for "One State, One Future PAC.” That PAC in June paid for television advertisements attacking one of Brown's primary opponents, Democrat Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. 

Gansler's campaign at the time accused Brown's camp of coordinating with the PAC, which Brown's campaign aides denied.

On Monday, Hogan's campaign manager Steve Crim called the sharing of fundraising consultants a "blatant example of illegal coordination" and said it was "impossible" the fundraising consultants could be employed by both entities without coordinating.

Guidance issued in January state clearly that campaigns can not coordinate with political action committees on strategy nor by sharing resources that are not readily available to the public. Hogan's camp contends the guidance suggests fundraising consultants can not be shared; Brown's camp disagrees. 

In a statement, Brown's campaign manager Justin Schall called the complaint "false accusations" and said that Hogan's team "either don't understand the law, or they don't care about the law."

Schall, in turn, accused the Hogan camp of resurrecting a "three-month-old political ploy" to distract Hogan's stance on issues. 

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