Hogan Faces Third Campaign Finance Violation Allegation in Four Weeks

Jul 11, 2019

Annapolis, MD— On Thursday the Maryland Democratic Party filed a new complaint with the State Board of Elections regarding suspicious contributions from LLCs that gave more than a half million dollars to Governor Larry Hogan’s re-election campaign.

The latest evidence of apparent campaign finance violations stems from $511,736.55 in contributions from “a number of suspicious LLCs” which, according to the complaint filed by the Party, were characterized as suspicious for the following reasons:

  • Many of these LLCs have similar names and the same addresses on Hogan’s filing reports
  • The Party has discovered similar business affiliations between donors and the LLCs they own, calling into question whether or not they exceed allowable ownership percentages tied to maximum contribution limits
  • Donors giving on the same date as associated LLCs​

Several of the LLCs as described above gave aggregate amounts exceeding $6,000 per cycle when grouped with LLCs that share similar names, addresses, business affiliations and giving dates.

According to the complaint, “state law applies contribution limits to LLCs that share 80% or more of the same ownership structure, [therefore] we believe the LLCs characterized above and itemized in the attached list (“Hogan LLCs”) may be in violation of Maryland’s campaign finance regulations.” If the LLCs in question were determined to have violated campaign finance laws, it would mean approximately $200,000 would have to be returned.

The complaint, which is the third allegation in four weeks, follows revelations that multiple UMMS Board members appointed by Hogan exceeded the legal donation limit (first brought to light by Sen. Clarence Lam (D-12) ) and a formal complaint from the Maryland Democratic Party over 96 donors who exceeded the legal contribution limit– resulting in $200,000 in excess donations. Including Thursday’s complaint, Hogan has received approximately $410,000 in allegedly illegal donations.

To date, Governor Hogan has not answered any of the previous allegations. His attorney Chris Ashby called the Party’s complaint “demonstrably false” and “sloppy.” Ashby went on to detail five individuals who received refunds– but made no mention of the other 91 donors found to have given in excess of the legal limits.

On the latest episode of the MD Dems Podcast, Executive Director Ben Smith offered a rebuttal to Ashby. Smith said on the podcast that the Party’s first complaint acknowledged the donors to which Ashby cited– and pointed to yet another potential violation that the Party is investigating.

Smith called Hogan’s handling of the issue “presumptuous, entitled, and negligent.”


Photo: Courtesy of Washington Post