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Man gets probation, $2,000 fine for campaign finance violations

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Randallstown businessman who illegally steered $10,000 in campaign donations to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings through phony donors was sentenced yesterday to a year's probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

Walter Wallace E. Hill Jr. pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor violation of the Federal Election Law Act. Hill acknowledged asking employees at ECS Technologies Inc. to write personal checks to Cummings' 1996 campaign, then reimbursing them with company money.

ECS, a Baltimore computer business with extensive government contracts, also was charged and pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin ordered the corporation yesterday to pay a $2,500 fine.

Attorney Paul D. Shelton argued that company President Eileen E. Dorsey knew nothing about the conduit contributions and that the company should not be harshly punished. Hill, 49, no longer works at ECS, where he had been a vice president and part-owner.

One of three cases

Hill's case was one of three federal prosecutors have brought in the past year involving alleged campaign finance violations related to Cummings' first race for Congress.

Earlier this week, prominent Baltimore County businessmen J. Mark and Douglas K. Loizeaux and their company, Controlled Demolition Inc., were acquitted by a jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on charges that they caused Cummings' treasurer to file false campaign reports by steering donations through "straw donors."

Cummings not target

Baltimore demolition expert Pless B. Jones faces a similar charge. His case is pending.

Cummings faced no charges and was not a target of the investigation, a point Shelton made in arguing for leniency for ECS.

"The fact that Mr. Cummings isn't being investigated apparently shows there weren't any favors, there wasn't any help," in return for the contributions, Shelton told Smalkin.

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