The Maryland Board of Elections has fined Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s re-election campaign for donations that were solicited during an annual ban on fundraising.
Elections officials said Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer broke state law this spring when he sent out a fundraising invitation on Hogan’s behalf during the 90-day annual General Assembly, when state officials are banned from raising money.
Hogan’s campaign will be fined $250 for the offense, a fraction of the maximum $1,000 fine allowed under state law.
The campaign has 30 days to contest the decision.
Hogan’s campaign manager Jim Barnett said he’s considering all their options, and emphasized that Redmer acted on his own — and against the guidance of the Hogan campaign.
“While we strongly disagree with the decision, we are pleased they acknowledge that the campaign committed no violation whatsoever,” Barnett said in a statement, referring to the elections board.
The Maryland Democratic Party filed a formal complaint over Redmer’s April 2 email to fellow Republicans, which invited political patrons to sign up to be a part of a “host committee” for a Hogan event scheduled later in the year.
Redmer has said that he wasn’t soliciting funds, merely organizing, but the elections board disagreed.
Hogan’s campaign argued that Redmer, a former minority leader in the House of Delegates, was acting against the advice of the campaign when he sent out emails about the fundraising event five days before the General Assembly adjourned on April 9.
In a letter to the Hogan campaign, elections officials said there was no evidence that Redmer was directed by Hogan’s campaign to solicit donations during the session. But, they argued, state law requires the campaign benefiting from the solicitation to be held responsible.
Redmer served 12 years in the legislature, during which he was subject to the annual fundraising ban. He left the General Assembly to serve as insurance commissioner under Hogan’s Republican predecessor, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.
Redmer is also running for the Republican nomination to be Baltimore County Executive.