Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Today, Harford County Executive David Craig and Delegate Ron George held a press conference alleging that the Hogan for Governor campaign violated certain state campaign finance laws.  The alleged violations are based upon what these campaigns assert is an improper coordination between the Hogan for Governor campaign and Change Maryland. The usual suspects jumped to beclown themselves by piling on this phony scandal and demonstrating their ignorance by hinting at additional violations of state and federal law.

As for the claims of the Craig and George campaigns, the Hogan for Governor campaign lays bare their absurdity with the following statement:

The entire premise of these allegations by two desperate campaigns is utterly absurd and patently false.  

Had David Craig and Ron George bothered to do even a cursory check, they would have seen that the “about” page at Change Maryland’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ChangeMaryland/info) and website (www.changemaryland.org), clearly states Paid for By Hogan-Rutherford to Change Maryland.   In short, Larry Hogan for Governor owns Change Maryland and has since he became a candidate.

Unlike David Craig’s campaign which has already been found guilty and fined for violating campaign laws, our campaign has worked closely with the Maryland Board of Elections to ensure from day one that we comply fully with all state laws.” 

Background:
Before starting his campaign for governor, Larry Hogan’s team sought guidance from the State Board of Elections on whether or how Change Maryland, a 527 political organization, could interface with a campaign for governor, also a 527 political organization.  The guidance received was that Hogan for Governor could purchase the assets of Change Maryland much like campaigns purchase mailing or contact lists from any other organization. Immediately upon registering as a campaign for governor, with the SBE, the campaign entered into a purchase agreement for all of Change Maryland’s assets at fair market value. "

So, the Hogan for Governor campaign reviewed all their actions with the State Board of Elections before the campaign began.  They followed the SBE's direction and complied with all Maryland campaign finance laws.

So do the Craig and George campaigns really expect the SBE to find violations based on actions they previously approved and directed? I doubt it.

Rather, this phony scandal is nothing more than a classic misdirection to keep a stream of bad campaign finance news off the front pages.  The Hogan campaign announced that it has raised sufficient funds to qualify for public financing and will have $2.6 million after the primary to take on the Democratic nominee.

Craig and George also applied for public financing.  No similar announcements have come from their campaigns which leads one the obvious conclusion that they failed to raise sufficient funds to qualify for public financing.

Such a failure gives the Hogan for Governor campaign 2.6 million reasons why Larry Hogan would be a more competitive candidate against the state's one party monopoly than any other Republican.

So, in desperation, Craig and George are trying to delegitimize the Hogan campaign's successful fundraising and also cover for their own patent failures as political fundraisers.  That is why the timing of this press conference was today even though a complaint was filed with SBE weeks ago.  Since the Craig and George campaigns cannot put out any positive news in advance of next week's campaign finance filings, they are seeking to attack a fellow candidate.

It is hard to imagine a more perfect example of Maryland Republicans "eating their own." The Craig and George campaigns would rather disqualify the one Republican candidate who can compete, from a fundraising standpoint, with the Democratic nominee than let that nominee be someone other than them.

It is tragic that David Craig and Ron George have let their personal ambition lead them to take bad counsel and engage in such a negative and cynical attack.  These allegations will be quickly dismissed and will ultimately become a footnote in a campaign that will be remembered for two honorable men mortgaging their honor to advance failed campaigns for Governor.

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