Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lollar's New Day PAC delinquent on Campaign Fines

Earlier this week we talked about Charles Lollar being paid a salary from this 2010 Congressional Campaign. While there was no violation of law in that instance, there are legal problems relating to Lollar's New Day Maryland PAC.

As it turns out, the New Day Maryland PAC owes approximately $1,750 in fines to the Maryland State Board of Elections for late filing of campaign finance reports covering a period from July 2011-present:

Under Maryland state law the Chairman and Treasurer of a campaign finance entity is personally responsible for the fines and violations; the fines cannot come from campaign funds and must be paid out of personal dollars.

Interestingly, § 13-332 of the Annotated Code of Maryland notes that a Candidate or Treasurer who fails to file a campaign report or pay the late filing fee is actually disqualified from eligibility to be a candidate for public office until such fees are paid. Including Governor, theoretically meaning Lollar faces disqualification from a second straight Gubernatorial election.
§ 13-332. Disqualification — Eligibility to be candidate or treasurer. An individual may not become a candidate for any public or party office in this State or become a treasurer for a campaign finance entity if, as to any campaign finance report due under § 13-304 of this subtitle from, or on behalf of, that individual during the preceding five calendar years: (1) there exists a failure to file as specified in § 13-327 of this subtitle; or (2) the individual has failed to pay a late filing fee that is due. (An. Code 1957, art. 33, § 13-403(b); 2002, ch. 291, § 4.)

What else happens if you don't file your reports and don't pay your fines? Well § 13-335 of the Annotated Code of Maryland gives us that answer:
(a) Show cause notice. — (1) If the State Board determines that there has
been, for more than 30 days, a failure to file a campaign finance report within
the meaning of § 13-327 of this subtitle, the State Board shall issue the notice
prescribed in paragraph (2) of this subsection to the responsible officers of the
campaign finance entity in violation.
(2) The notice shall demand that, within 30 days after service of the
notice, either:
(i) the failure to file be rectified and any late filing fee due be paid; or
(ii) the responsible officers show cause why the State Board should not
ask the appropriate prosecuting authority to prosecute the responsible officers
for a violation of this subtitle.
(3) In its discretion, the appropriate prosecuting authority may refer the
matter for action to the Central Collection Unit within the Department of
Budget and Management.
(b) Penalty. — A responsible officer who fails, without cause, to file the
campaign finance report and pay the late fee within 30 days after service of the
notice prescribed in subsection (a)(2) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor
and on conviction is subject to the penalties prescribed in § 13-603 of this title
Pay particular attention to subsection (a)(3) that discusses referring the matter for action to the Central Collection Unit. The Central Collection Unit (CCU) s an agency, as noted, within the Department of Management and Budget, that debts owed to the state of Maryland are referred to. The prosecuting attorney to whom a campaign finance violation has been referred to can refer  these campaign finance violations to the CCU at their discretion.

Which certainly makes this case found on the Maryland Courts Case Search site, very interesting.

So on September 11, 2013, a judgment against Charles Lollar was rendered in the Charles County District Court in favor of the CCU, awarding a total of $1643.24 cents.

Nothing specifically connects the New Day Maryland PAC fines to the Central Collection Unit case against Lollar, but the evidence can easily lead one to the conclusion that the two stories are related.

On Monday afternoon (before I posted Monday's story) I asked Lollar Campaign Manager Karen Winterling for a comment both on the salary Lollar was paid during the 2010 Congressional Campaign and the Central Collection Unit case. To date, Winterling has not responded.

Lots of folks in the Lollar camp are righteously indignant that Red Maryland is reporting on Lollar and the things that he has done, though it would seem they should be bothering their candidate for answers instead of us for just talking about facts. We will continue to vet our candidates to ensure that we have a Republican nominee who is worth of carrying the torch of our party.


Mike Phillips said...

For those who heard Charles announce me as the new Chairman for New Day Maryland, please understand that these fines accumulated prior to my being named Chairman and the "change-over" has not begun with the Maryland Board of Elections. Also, while something like this may look "bad" for the candidate, it really is a common occurrence among candidates for not filing on time or not knowing something needs to be filed and not being notified by the BOE until a large sum is added up. This process, typically performed by the Treasurer of the organization, is a daunting task and with New Day Maryland being quite dormant for the past year or so, these things are more of a gadfly than an impeachment for a candidate. This fine most likely can be negotiated down, and once the fine is paid - all will be well between the state and Charles.

That being said, I just want to make it clear so that certain unscrupulous persons would not be tempted to lay blame where it didn't belong (namely on me) to get the monkey off of the campaign's back. If I am to actually become the chairman of NewDay - the appropriate paperwork must still be filed with the BOE which will require Charles Lollar's signature. That has not happened to date - as suggested by Brian's comments. Until that occurs, I am still considered as Communications Director only. I also want to point out for the record and those that will assume conspiracy on my part, that Mr. Griffeths brought this to my attention only moments before he posted this blog and not vice versa.

dwb said...

I hear what you are saying about blaming the messenger, and you are right these are rookie mistakes. The Gov is not an entry-level job.

Nevertheless, dig into the details of the Dems campaign finance, and the people/companies sending money for their pet projects, and you'll feel like you need a shower. Makes me feel like I am looking at money laundering to get around finance rules.

If the worst you can say about a candidate is that, basically, some forms were not filled out on time, this sounds to me like rookie mistakes not real ethical lapses.

I do not see similar "vetting" for other candidates, so this just looks like one faction attacking another faction to gain a primary advantage. I still say, not the kind of thing that needs to be done in public.

Brian Griffiths said...

dwb did you seriously miss the part where this was referred to collections and taken to court? Seriously?

dwb said...

I did see that. $1643.24. You know what is ACTUALLY scandalous? The MDSP telling thousands of people to pick up their guns after Oct1 without an HQL, in violation of the law. Or how about how Gansler and Brown are tripping over each other to promise constituencies free stuff. That's my freakin money they are promising to constituencies.

These are things I get worked up about. $1643.24 fine, because someone forgot to file their TPS reports on time, meh.

Brian Griffiths said...

Hey I won't argue about the gun laws and about the yahoos who want to spend our money, however the fact that you're willing to brazenly blow-off campaign finance law seems pretty curious

dwb said...

Perhaps it is a sad statement that in this state you have to do much worse than $1643.24 in collections to raise some eyebrows. But I am pragmatic. This state is not going to move to the right overnight, its going to do so incrementally. The Dems are ethically challenged on campaign finance, they are just much better at not getting caught.
How about SRB nice little low cost vacation courtesy of her lobbyist-lifetime-friend, I bet that was more than $2000. So, this is small potatoes.

Its not that i am blowing off campaign finance laws, being pragmatic, I am more interested in who stands the best chance against Gansler/Brown, even if they are the less pure candidate.