Judge dismisses lawsuit over campaign fundraising during session

An Anne Arundel County judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by supporters of gubernatorial candidate Douglas F. Gansler who wanted to prevent his Democratic rivals from raising money during the General Assembly session.

Judge William C. Mulford II dismissed the case — at the request of the lawyer for the Gansler supporters.


Attorney Daniel Clements said his clients got what they wanted out of the case: a promise from Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown that his running mate, Ken Ulman, wouldn't raise money during the session.

In Maryland, members of the legislature and elected officials who hold statewide office are barred from raising campaign money during the 90-day session.


But there is no such prohibition against local elected officials such as Ulman, who is Howard County executive.

Both Gansler and his running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey, are covered by the fundraising ban during the session, putting them at a potential disadvantage had their rivals been able to raise money.

Mulford also denied a request from Clements for $17,200 in sanctions against Brown and Ulman. Clements argued that if Brown didn't intend to raise money through Ulman, he wasted the court's time and violated rules that govern attorney behavior. Clements said the lieutenant governor should have made his intentions known to the court earlier, rather than in a letter to The Washington Post. Both Brown and Ulman are attorneys.

Mulford wasn't swayed, and he said Brown and Ulman had a "substantial probability of success" if the case had gone to trial.

Clements had also named Linda H. Lamone, the state's administrator of elections, in the suit. Andrew D. Levy, a private attorney hired to represent Lamone and the Board of Elections, called the lawsuit "frivolous." Clements, though, contended it was useful in gaining guidance for how campaign tickets handle one member who is covered by the fundraising ban and one member who isn't.

Normally, an attorney from the attorney general's office would represent elections officials in court. But since Gansler is the attorney general, the state sought outside counsel.

Joseph Sandler, an attorney for Brown, called the lawsuit a "political stunt" meant to "embarrass and harass" Brown and Ulman.

Timothy Maloney, an attorney for Ulman, noted that the lawsuit didn't include two Republican gubernatorial tickets in a similar situation: gubernatorial candidate and Harford County Executive David R. Craig and his running mate Del. Jeannie Haddaway; and gubernatorial candidate and Del. Ron George and his running mate Shelley Aloi, a former Frederick alderwoman.


"There's been no mention of them. … This is a targeted case, a targeted political case," Maloney said.

Clement said the other campaigns weren't sued because they hadn't officially filed to run at the time he filed the lawsuit in December. Craig and Haddaway filed on Jan. 6 and George and Aloi filed Tuesday.