Commission delays decision on councilman's fund raising Gray says disclosure was not required


An article and caption in the Howard County edition of The Sun yesterday improperly characterized Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray's view of his effort to raise money to pay for his recent unsuccessful bid for a leading office in the National Association of Counties. Gray has said the funds he sought were contributions to a campaign for a nonpublic office ++ and thus were not regulated by state campaign-finance laws.

The Howard County Ethics Commission spent two more hours Tuesday night wrestling over a questionable fund-raising campaign by Democratic Councilman C. Vernon Gray. But commission members decided to delay a decision until their next meeting.

The ethics commission has been considering whether Gray violated the county's ban on public officials soliciting gifts when he asked corporations -- including at least one regulated by the county -- to contribute $1,000 each.

The money was for his campaign to become second vice president of the National Association of Counties, a national lobbying group.

The state regulates contributions for regular political campaigns, but few clear rules exist on such campaigns.

The commission will continue discussing Gray's case at its meeting Sept. 17.

Gray has said he simply was raising money for a political campaign. He said letters from the Maryland attorney general's office and the county's law office convinced him the fund raising was legal and did not require disclosure.

Pub Date: 8/22/96

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