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Failed city candidate asks U.S. attorney to investigate challenger

Nick Mosby, an electrical engineer, seen outside City Hall, pulled off a surprise victory by defeating incumbent Belinda Conaway in Tuesday's Democratic primary for city council district 7.
Nick Mosby, an electrical engineer, seen outside City Hall, pulled off a surprise victory by defeating incumbent Belinda Conaway in Tuesday's Democratic primary for city council district 7. (Kenneth K. Lam / The Baltimore Sun)

The city's primary election is over, but in one district, the bickering between candidates continues.

Belinda Conaway, the only incumbent City Council member to lose her seat, has asked the U.S. attorney for Maryland to prosecute her challenger, alleging her opponent unlawfully used an IRS logo in campaign literature.

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Conaway failed by 648 votes in her bid for a third term representing the city's northwest side in the Democratic primary last week. She lays much of the blame for that loss on the campaign tactics of her opponent, Nick Mosby.

Mosby's campaign issued two mass mailers that Conaway said falsely accused her of lying on her federal tax returns, including one that appeared to have an IRS logo. The effect of the fliers was devastating, personally and politically, she said.

"The combined message of the two mailers was to tell voters that I had violated federal tax laws and that I was subject to enforcement action," Conaway wrote in a Sept.19 letter to Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "A casual reader would think that I was on the verge of imprisonment for tax perjury."

Conaway's letter cites a section of U.S. code that she believes makes Mosby's flier illegal. Rosenstein's staff confirmed receipt of Conaway's letter Monday, but declined to comment until they have reviewed the issue.

Mosby, an electrical engineer, said he was unaware that the use of government agency logos might be prohibited. He said he has not seen Conaway's letter to Rosenstein, and that he is not alarmed.

"This is consistent with everything she has done in the past," he said. "She sues everyone."

One of Mosby's fliers replicated the official IRS logo and alleged that Conaway lied about her legal residence. The other depicted a woman's hands clutching prison bars. Both mailers include a candid photo of Conaway with her arms raised.

"It is egregious to imply that I have lied to the IRS," Conaway said Tuesday. "He has not asked my permission to see my tax returns."

On Tuesday, Conaway also accused Mosby of mishandling his mother's estate. Mosby said the accusations stem from her disappointment in the election outcome.

"She didn't campaign and did nothing to win," he said. "She basically ran on her own name."

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