Elections board, Brown-Ulman reply to suit

The State Board of Elections and both members of the Brown-Ulman ticket for governor have filed motions urging the Anne Arundel Circuit Court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by supporters of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's rival candidacy seeking to bar Howard County Executive Ken Ulman from raising funds during the 90-day legislative session.

Daniel M. Clements, the lawyer for two Gansler supporters, said the defendants' motions ignored a crucial provision of the law.


The suit contends that the elections board misinterpreted the law when it ruled that Ulman could continue to raise funds during the session, when statewide officials and state legislators are barred from doing so. Among those clearly covered by the ban is Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who is  running for the Democratic nomination for governor with Ulman as his running mate,

Lawyers for state elections chief Linda Lamone contended that the court does not have the power to issue the injunction Clements requested. It said that even if the court decides it has the power that it would be premature to exercise it.


Brown's lawyers argued that the lawsuit does not provide a reason why the lieutenant governor was named as a defendant. The motion to dismiss says the suit does not seek any relief from Brown and does not allege that he did anything wrong or intended to do anything wrong. It called Brown's inclusion "an act of bad faith" and a "publicity stunt."

Ulman's attorneys challenged the plaintiffs' standing to bring the lawsuit, saying state law does not give private citizens the right to sue to enforce campaign finance laws.

Clements said in an interview that the motions to dismiss were wrong in their understanding of the law. In particular, he rejected the Ulman argument that his clients lacked standing.

"They ignore a section of the law that gives us authority to file suit," he said. Clements said the courts, acting at the urging of voters, have the authority to grant whatever relief they believe will protect the "purity of the election process."

Clements is a supporter of Gansler -- who is covered by the session ban along with his running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey of Prince Georges County. Ulman has not ruled out raising funds for his own campaign committee, independently of Brown, during the session.

The court had not set a hearing date as of Thursday, Clements said.

An earlier version of this story misstated Ken Ulman's title. The Sun regrets the error.