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Maryland Gov. Hogan’s campaign pays fine for accepting excess donations

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign has paid a $2,500 fine for accepting political donations above the state’s limits.

The fine was paid as the Republican governor disbands his “Larry Hogan for Governor” state finance account, according to the campaign. The fine was confirmed by Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the state Board of Elections.

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“They were technical violations and they were cooperative in resolving the issues,” DeMarinis said.

Hogan’s campaign team said the over-the-limit donations represented a fraction of the $20 million raised from more than 20,000 donors.

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“In the course of that record-shattering fundraising effort, the campaign accepted contributions in excess of the limit from a very few donors — fewer than one half of one percent of our total raised — due to input bookkeeping errors,” said Chris Rosenthal, the campaign treasurer, in a statement Wednesday.

The campaign did not immediately provide a total number and dollar amount of the excess donations, but the campaign has been sending money back to donors and updating prior campaign finance reports for the last few years.

Larry Hogan for Governor previously reported returning nearly $63,000 in donations in 2019 and nearly $44,000 in donations in 2020. The next campaign finance report detailing 2021 campaign activities is due in January.

Under Maryland law, donors may not give more than $6,000 to a candidate over each four-year election cycle.

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The Maryland Democratic Party filed a complaint about the excessive donations with state elections officials in 2019. At the time, the party alleged that Hogan’s campaign finance reports “show that there is a pattern of individuals and businesses tied to high dollar donors bundling sums for Hogan well above the legal limits.”

Rosenthal pushed back against those allegations, calling them “numerous false and unfounded allegations from a partisan political entity.”

The campaign expects to have between $1,000 and $10,000 left once the finance account is closed, and that money will be donated to charity.

Hogan was first elected governor in 2014, using the state’s public financing system for the general election. He ran a conventionally financed campaign to win reelection in 2018. He is barred from running in 2022 due to term limits.

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