Exclusive: U.S. Congressman’s Campaign May Violate State Election Law

Rep. Anthony Brown, Democrat of Maryland, wants to be the state’s top law enforcement officer, but his own campaign’s spending may violate state election law, according to campaign finance experts.

The three-term congressman announced on Oct. 25 that he would retire from Congress and run for Maryland attorney general. Since then, he has used funds from his Congressional campaign account to bankroll his bid for statewide office, a TIME review of his financial disclosures shows.

Brown’s Congressional campaign spent as much as $40,000 supporting his campaign for attorney general between November 2021 and March 2022, the TIME review found. The biggest ticket item was more than $24,000 for the salary for his state campaign’s finance director, according to Brown’s most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. Meanwhile, Brown spent nothing from his state account’s war chest to compensate the campaign’s staff in its first months of operation, the TIME review found.
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That may be illegal. Maryland’s election laws set a contribution limit to state campaign committees of $6,000 per election cycle. The payments from Brown’s federal campaign committee to support his attorney general race may have exceeded the legal contribution limit by as much as $34,000 over the last five months, the campaign finance experts say.

“This is a credible violation, since it’s clearly, under the law, a contribution,” says Ann Ravel, former chair of the FEC during the Obama years and now a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Law, referring to the federal committee’s expenditures.

The salary payments are a particular problem. “In payroll, you’ve got to stay current,” says Michael Toner, former chair of the FEC during the Bush administration. “If the fundraising person is being paid by the federal campaign committee during a period when the congressman has announced he’s not running for another term—he’s running …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

      

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