Proposed Regulations Limit the Use of Campaign Funds

The State Board of Elections has proposed new regulations governing the use of campaign funds that would prohibit their use for items such as foreign travel, tuition or mounting a legal defense to charges unrelated to the campaign. As reported by the Baltimore Sun,

The new election rules address questions such as how campaign contributions may be raised and spent. [Jared] DeMarinis [campaign finance director, SBE] said many of them reflect long-standing “guidance” letters from the attorney general’s office. He said the Office of the State Prosecutor advised him that converting that advice into regulations would make it easier to enforce election laws.

In addition to the ban on some uses of campaign funds, the board is proposing explicit rules on what actions violate the state’s longtime ban on legislators and statewide elected officials raising money during the General Assembly session.

Among the practices banned is one in which officials send out a notice during the 90-day session to “save the date” — code in political circles for announcing a fundraiser. The rules would also prohibit a campaign from having an active contribution link posted on the Internet during the session.

The proposed regulations will be open for public comment and go before the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review Committee.