Brandon Scott Councilman for District 2, Now President of the City Council Candidate for Mayor of Baltimore Launderer of Contributions to Circumvent
Campaign Financing Law
We all have an interest in improving election law to reduce the influence of money on primary and general elections.
In the course of figuring out what changes to advocate for campaign financing law, we’ve been looking at contributions received by the five leading candidates for Mayor of Baltimore. In alphabetical order, they are Sheila Dixon, Mary Miller, Brandon Scott, Thiru Vignarajah and Jack Young. Contributions data are readily available at the Maryland Board of Elections website.
Phylicia Porter District 10 Democrat candidate for Baltimore City Council. Problematic campaign financing.
District 10 Candidate Phylicia Porter
Maryland-based Local Initiatives is committed to encouraging campaign finance reform in order to reduce the influence of money on the outcome of primary and general elections. In pursuit of this objective, we have been studying the campaign contributions made to candidates in selected races, most recently, for the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore.
The screenshot on the left is from an article in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun about the billboard in the picture. Whether or not it is related to Mayor Pugh’s scandalous behavior and the FBI’s investigation, it marks an extraordinary moment in the continuing downward spiral of Baltimore’s public image.
The city of Baltimore has roughly 612,000 people. It’s a number that continues to decline because, let’s be honest, the city has very serious deficiencies. For most of its residents, particularly those without money, it is not a good place to live and work.
Hi. A lot has been said of late about the costs of running for Mayor and about two candidates in particular. One is self-made millionaire venture capitalist David Warnock. The other is a government employee, attorney Elizabeth Embry. Mr. Warnock is wealthy. Ms. Embry is not.
A hundred thousand dollars here, a hundred thousand dollars there. Pretty soon, you’re talking serious money.
Speaking of serious things, this is one of our more technical pieces. It has to be given the subject matter. If numbers give you a headache or put you to sleep, feel free to skip ahead to the last 2 paragraphs.
As part of our ongoing review of candidates for Mayor – and City Council too – we noticed some issues with the campaign finance reports filed by Friends of Sheila Dixon. At it turns out, in February and March of 2015, Ms. Dixon’s committee revised 17 of these reports covering the period January 14, 2015 going all the way back to November 22, 2006. That’s just before Sheila Dixon became Mayor when her predecessor, Martin O’Malley, left to start his first term as Governor.
This piece is, of necessity, longer than most of what we publish. Admittedly, it’s not for everybody, but should be of interest if you’re into technical issues that are germane to candidate competence and maybe integrity too, particularly as they relate to campaign financing. Just because something is technical and takes some time to figure out, doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Today is the deadline for the annual campaign financing reports covering the period January 15, 2015 through January 13, 2016. The table below shows you the summary data for these reports for each of the 6 leading candidates for Mayor. (Clicking on the table makes it larger.)