A Baltimore County candidate for the House of Delegates acknowledged this week he wrote checks from his campaign account, a violation of campaign finance law that resulted in a $2,500 fine.
Jay Jalisi, a Democrat running to represent western Baltimore County, wrote 28 checks from his campaign account from February through April, according to the Office of the State Prosecutor.
Jalisi said his treasurer had suffered two strokes and had heart surgery in the months leading up to June's primary election. Jalisi said he had checked with elections officials who said it would be OK for the campaign chairman to write checks. However, the campaign chairman cannot write checks if the chairman is also the candidate — as is the case for Jalisi's campaign.
"The prosecutor's office has investigated everything and the only thing they found was the mistake I made because of the confusing information I received," Jalisi said.
Jalisi said had he known he wasn't allowed to write the checks, he would have appointed a new treasurer. He said none of the money was spent improperly.
The Office of the State Prosecutor said Jalisi was charged with a civil violation because the law was violated without Jalisi knowing the act was illegal.
Jalisi said he chose not to contest the charge.
"It was either pay $2,500 or spend $25,000 litigating it, and every time I would have gone to court, it would have been in the news," he said.
Jalisi is among five candidates vying for three delegate seats in the 10th legislative district, which includes Randallstown, Reisterstown, Milford Mill and Windsor Mill. The other candidates are incumbent Del. Adrienne A. Jones, a Democrat; Democrat Benjamin Brooks; write-in Democrat Michael Tyrone Brown Sr.; and Republican William T. Newton.