Docstoc

Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study

Document Sample
Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study Powered By Docstoc
					                                               Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study                                                       2011

Table Of Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 1
CAMPAIGN LAWS AND REGULATIONS ........................................................................................................ 2
   Limits on Campaign contributions .......................................................................................................... 2
   Reporting of Campaign Contributions..................................................................................................... 2
   Reporting of Campaign Expenditures ..................................................................................................... 2
   Enforcement ........................................................................................................................................... 2
CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES ........................................................................................................ 3
   County Executive: ................................................................................................................................... 3
   County Council: ....................................................................................................................................... 3
LWV of MARYLAND (LWVMD)--CAMPAIGN FINANCE ADVOCACY .............................................................. 4
   Public funding: ........................................................................................................................................ 4
   Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs): ...................................................................................................... 4
   Slates: ..................................................................................................................................................... 5
   Independent Expenditures: .................................................................................................................... 5
Sources: ...................................................................................................................................................... 5
Committee: ................................................................................................................................................. 5
Attachments: .............................................................................................................................................. 6
   Contributions to Baltimore County Executive and Council Candidates- General Election 2010 ............. 6
   Expenditures to Baltimore County Executive and Council Candidates- General Election 2010 .............. 7




Introduction
We adopted, at our 2010 Annual Meeting, an informational study “focusing on campaign financing: how
Baltimore County elections are funded, the reporting of campaign contributions, and the source of
contributions and expenditures.” The study, as adopted, also called for a review of campaign finance
laws, regulations and policies, and of League advocacy. This paper discusses those topics as they relate
to the 2010 elections for County Executive and County Council; it does so in the context of Maryland
laws which govern local elections and advocacy by the LWV of Maryland,




                                                                                                                                                                1
                               Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study                      2011

CAMPAIGN LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Limits on Campaign contributions
Individuals, corporations, business entities, unions, political clubs and other political committees may
con-tribute $4,000 to one political committee, with aggregate contributions limited to $10,000 for all
political committees. The key word is “committee”: many candidates have more than one committee so
could receive up to $10,000 from one contributor.

One loop-hole in current law is that Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), partnerships, and Real Estate In-
vestment Trusts (REITs), even if controlled by the same individuals, can give as separate entities and
thus each contribute $4,000 several times to one candidate committee.

The $4,000/$10,000 limits do not apply to slates. Slates are political committees of two or more
candidates who join together to conduct and pay for campaign activities. The Slate may transfer
unlimited amounts among and between members of the Slate.

Contributions to Ballot Issue Committees, such as those supporting or opposing the recent slots
referendum, are unlimited.

Reporting of Campaign Contributions
All political committees, including Slates, must submit an Annual Campaign Finance Report. During an
election year, several periodical reports are required, the third one due on the third Tuesday after the
election. A final report showing transactions that occur after Election Day is due by January 19. Late fees
of $10 a day are assessed, up to $250. The reports, with a few exceptions, must be filed electronically.

The reports, for each contribution, must include the date, amount or market value, and the name and
ad-dress of the donor whether individual or organization. It must also show whether the contribution
was cash, check, credit card or payroll deduction, and must include the aggregate amount received to
date from each contributor.

Reporting of Campaign Expenditures
Candidates must report expenditures and identify by type, such media, printing, fund raising, etc. .

Slates have to report monies they receive and their expenditures, but do not have to report which of
their members benefit from each expenditure.

Enforcement
The State Board of Elections conducts an audit of all the reports to ensure compliance with the laws.
Political committees have 30 days to correct any errors or omissions. After that late fees are assessed.
Penalties include fines of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year for:

        Paying someone to vote or not vote for or against a candidate.
        Paying people to induce others to vote or not vote for or against a candidate.


                                                                                                             2
                                Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study                        2011
        Including in pay envelopes political material containing expressed or implied threats to influence
        opinions or actions of employees.
        Publishing any kind of campaign material that does not state by whose authority it was
        published.
        Concealing the source or intended recipient of funds.
Failure to file reports or pay late fees is a misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and/or one
year in prison. Making false, fraudulent or misleading statements, or in other ways knowingly and
willfully violating campaign finance laws can bring criminal penalties which are also fines up to $25,000
and/or imprisonment up to one year.


CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES
The analysis in this section is based on the campaign finance data base maintained by the Maryland
Education Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland. (See detailed
charts attached). We summarize below some findings from that data.

County Executive:
 Kevin Kamenetz (D) defeated Kenneth Holt (R) with 54% of the vote. Contributions and expenditures
reported by Mr. Kamenetz were at least six times those reported by Mr.Holt. (Joseph Bartenfelder, Mr.
Kamenetz’ opponent, reported amounts similar to those reported by Mr. Kamenetz.) Total contributions
to the major candidates for County Executive ---Primary and General—were Mr. Kamenetz-$1.6 million,
Mr. Holt--$269,000, and Mr. Bartenfelder--$1 million. Expenditures for all of the candidates were
somewhat higher than contributions..

“Miscellaneous” expenditures include loan repayments, bank transfers and other items. Mr. Kamenetz
and Mr. Holt reported over 30% of their total expenditures as “miscellaneous: Mr. Kamenetz’ report lists
$1million as “miscellaneous.” According to the Maryland Education Center, that was “interest bearing
transfers between various accounts” and was actually not spent by his campaign committee.

Mr. Kamenetz reported that over 57% of his contributions were from business entities, while Mr. Holt
re-ported only 17% from that source (many of the business entities were LLCs.) Both candidates
reported over 1/3 of their contributions came from individuals. Mr. Kamenetz reported minimal
contributions from slates. And Mr. Holt reported that over 1/3 of his contributions were from slates.

County Council:
The newly elected members of the Council were: Tom Quirk (District 1); Vicki Almond (District 2); Todd
Huff (District 3); Kenneth Oliver (District 4); David Marks (District 5); Cathy Bevins (District 6); and John
Olszewski (District 7). All are Democrats except Mr. Huff and Mr. Marks. Mr. Oliver and Mr. Olszewski
were unopposed on the General Election ballot, but did have “write-in” opponents.

The data base shows that better-funded candidates won in all Councilmanic Districts—no surprise there.
All but one winning candidate reported contributions ranging from about $50,000 to $130,000. (Mr.


                                                                                                                3
                               Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study                      2011
Olszewski, the Council Chairman reported contributions of $472,000.) The percentage of contributions
from business entities was larger for Democrats than Republicans.

Most candidates for County Council reported very small percentages for ―miscellaneous‖ expenditures.
However, Mr. Olszewski and Mr. Oliver reported 32% and 62% respectively

Unlike the County Executive candidates, media was not a large portion of expenditures for County Coun-
cil candidates. The bulk of their expenditures was for printing and mailings.


LWV of MARYLAND (LWVMD)--CAMPAIGN FINANCE ADVOCACY
The Maryland League has been active for decades in promoting campaign finance reform. Almost 40
years ago, the League was instrumental in enacting public funding for campaigns for Governor and
Lieutenant Governor. That fund has been used only once, by Ellen Sauerbrey in her first Gubernatorial
campaign. More recently, the League was represented, by appointment by the Governor on the Study
Com-mission on Public Funding of Campaigns in Maryland. That commission, in 2002, recommended
public funding of campaigns for the General Assembly (GA). We expect to support the following
legislative proposals in the 2011 GA Session.

Public funding:
A League legislative priority over the past decade has been enactment of a Public Funding system for
members of the General Assembly. The system would be voluntary and include spending limits. We have
testified in favor of this legislation every year since 1998. Progress has been made in the past few years,
with a bill reported favorably by the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs (EHEA)
Committee that came close to passing in the past two General Assembly sessions. The lead sponsor of
the public funding bill in the Senate will apparently not submit a bill this year. We do, however, expect
that a bill will be submitted in the House of Delegates.

The Maryland League also supported a bill from Montgomery County for a pilot project under which
candidates for local office could opt to take public funding. That bill died in EHEA.

Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs):
The LWVMD has supported, again for many years, legislative proposals which would close the loophole
which enables some owners of partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs and REITs) to circumvent
campaign contribution limits. Campaign contributions from multiple corporations owned by the same
shareholders are deemed to be made by one contributor: that rule does not apply to LLCs or REITs.

The League has suggested that campaign contributions made by two or more LLCs be treated as being
made by a single contributor if one LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of another, or the entities are con-
trolled by the same individuals. A task force assembled by the Maryland Attorney General recently
recommended similar changes to the law.




                                                                                                            4
                              Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study                   2011
Slates:
Transfers from a slate to a member of that slate need not be reported by the slate. The LWVMD
supports changes in the law to require disclosing which candidates receive slate money and how much.

Independent Expenditures:
The League supports disclosure of contributions from corporations and others who, without
coordination with the candidate, fund campaign materials supporting or opposing a candidate.


Sources:
       “The Summary Guide to Candidacy and Campaign Finance Laws”, Maryland State Board of
       Elections.

       Maryland Education Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland,
       Campaign Finance Data Base


Committee:
       Phyllis Lansing, Eleanor Lewis, Eleanor Richwine, Kay Terry.


Attachments




                                                                                                        5
                          Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study           2011

Attachments:
Contributions to Baltimore County Executive and Council Candidates- General Election 2010




                                                                                        6
                       Baltimore County LWV Campaign Finance Study       2011
Expenditures to Baltimore County Executive and Council Candidates- General
Election 2010




                                                                                7

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:1
posted:9/28/2011
language:English
pages:7