Larry Hogan campaign bus
(Erin Cox, Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland Democratic Party filed a complaint against GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan late Tuesday, alleging Hogan improperly paid for his campaign bus and skirted public financing rules.

Democrats accused Hogan of cutting himself a deal that no private company would grant when he bought a recreational vehicle with his personal funds and then leased it back to the campaign for less than $700 a month.


The Democrats allege the deal violates campaign finance laws because Hogan charged the campaign less than fair-market value for the bus and because he did not report his purchase of the bus as a contribution to his campaign.

Hogan's spokesman dismissed the complaint as political maneuvering.

"The bus is being paid for at fair-market value," spokesman Adam Dubitsky said. "We're doing it by the book."

The Maryland Board of Elections now has dueling complaints about the two men vying to be Maryland's next governor. On Monday, Hogan's campaign alleged Democrat Anthony G. Brown broke election laws by sharing a fundraising consultant with a political action committee.

Hogan uses his bus, emblazoned with his campaign logo and slogan, as a rolling billboard and mobile office. He purchased the 2015 Thor Windsport before the June 24 primary and charges the campaign $683.77 per month to use it as a mobile office, according to his campaign. Dubitsky said that sum matches "penny for penny" what Hogan pays the dealership.

In the complaint, Democrats contend Hogan's purchase of the bus should also be counted against the Republican's $2.6 million spending cap. Hogan accepted public financing for the Nov. 4 election, a decision that limits how much he can spend on a campaign.

In her letter to the Maryland Board of Elections, Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis asked the state elections board to impose "the full civil penalties provided by the law."