Monday, October 15, 2012

Democrats Ask Prosecutor to Investigate Campaign Finance Violations by Anti-Dream Act Group "Help Save Maryland"

Earlier this month, Maryland Juice posted an anti-Dream Act radio ad from the rightwing anti-immigrant group Help Save Maryland. But it turns out that the organization has not filed as a ballot issue committee with the State Board of Elections. The Maryland Democratic Party is now calling for a state prosecutor to investigate potential campaign finance violations and more (see below):


Anti-Maryland DREAM Act Organization, Help Save Maryland, 
Accused of Serious Campaign Finance Violations

ANNAPOLIS (October 15, 2012) - The Maryland Democratic Party submitted a formal letter today to Deputy State Prosecutor Thomas McDonough requesting an inquiry into serious campaign finance violations committed by Help Save Maryland, an organization working against the Maryland DREAM Act. Neither Help Save Maryland nor its Executive Director Brad Botwin has registered with the State Board of Elections as a ballot issue committee, making a recent radio advertisement run by Help Save Maryland in breach of the law.

Help Save Maryland sponsored and paid for radio advertisements that were broadcast on 101.9 LITE FM in Baltimore starting on October 1, 2012. The group has purchased time to run the advertisements twice a day Monday through Friday during the weeks of October 1 and October 15.

The ad uses emotionally charged and factually distorted language about “illegal aliens” clearly intended to gin up opposition to the Maryland DREAM Act as it faces ballot referendum. The ad urges voters to “learn the facts” about Question 4 by visiting where visitors are presented with a number of wildly inaccurate falsehoods masquerading as facts. According to the State Board of Elections Summary Guide, this type of ad requires the formation of a ballot committee first. In fact, no ballot issue committee has registered with the State Board to promote the defeat of Question 4.

“Help Save Maryland is breaking the law. Marylanders deserve to know who is funding a group that is peddling lies and grossly misrepresenting the facts to influence the outcome of a ballot measure of critical importance to our state,” said David Sloan, Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party. “I also find it ironic that for all of Help Save Maryland’s bluster about ‘the rule of law,’ they can’t follow simple election laws designed to inform the public about who is funding efforts to persuade voters on political issues.”

Sloan also mentioned that a formal request to the IRS for an investigation into Help Save Maryland’s violations of their 501(c)3 status is in the works.


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