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Ban on Special Session Fundraising

Common Cause Maryland and Progressive Maryland rallied yesterday behind a bill that would prohibit state lawmakers from raising or soliciting campaign donations during a special session of the General Assembly.

Del. Saqib Ali (D-Montgomery) introduced the bill in response to concerns that many lawmakers -- including himself -- raised money during the legislature's November special session. State law prohibits legislators from raising money during the annual 90-day session. The law does not apply to special sessions, which occur every few years. However, the practice is frowned upon by the legislature's ethics counsel.

"As public servants, I'm sure you will agree that you are lawmakers first and fundraisers second," Common Cause Executive Director Ryan O'Donnell told members of the House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing.

But some delegates said an outright ban on raising money could create complications if they scheduled fundraisers months before a special session is called on short notice.

O'Donnell said his group would be open to an amendment limiting individual contributions to $25.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 27, 2008; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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Comments

Good idea. Good bill. Well done Ali. Why doesn't the Post publish who raised what from whom during the special session?

Delegate Ali, cousin of my friend Shawn Ali, while you are correcting past mistakes, why don't you go back and change all those votes you made that were in favor of the sales, computer and income tax increases?

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | February 27, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse


Former Delegate Ficker, my friend! Thanks for the wonderful compliments :)

I do think the computer services tax was a mistake. And I'm trying to do everything I can to repeal it. Originally it was passed because it was a small piece of a "grand compromise" during the special session to close the state's budget deficit. It was likely that the entire package would have collapsed at that time if it was removed. Now it is time to repeal it since it won't have that detrimental effect.

As far as the income and sales taxes go, I'm very comfortable with those votes. I believe there was no other responsible way to close the very large budget deficit. Let's be real: the income tax increase only affects people who make more than $150K/year. I think it is a burden that Maryland's rich can reasonably bear.

I don't like raising taxes any more than you do. However, if we didn't raise some taxes, we would have had to cut aid to our schools, roads and public safety facilities (such as prisons, etc).


Posted by: Delegate Saqib Ali | February 27, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse


Robin, Hi.

If you don't mind, please send me your email address to delegate@SaqibAli.org

Posted by: Delegate Saqib Ali | February 27, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Delegate,

Why don't you try to cut spending on current programs and stop finding new ways to spend my money?

Posted by: dmc | February 27, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

DMC,

Please let me know exactly which program you would like to see cut. After the tremendous cuts put through in the special session ($500 Million), I can't see there much more fat in the budget.

Advocating cuts without saying *WHERE* those cuts should occur is not an intellectually honest line of debate.

Posted by: Delegate Saqib Ali | February 27, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Delegate,

What programs were cut to meet the $500 million? Nothing has actually been passed yet, has it?

Cumberland, MD

Posted by: Mark Fisher | February 27, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

How about the board that will regulate the trans fat ban? How about the HOC enforcement group that penalized me because my tenants had broken a window and kept trash in the yard (for the record, as a result of the HOC, I ended up evicting the tenants (whose incomes were below 60% of AMI) and taking it off the rental market)? How much does it cost the county to regulate and control liquor sales (I guess this is a revenue generator for the county)? The only thing that's intellectually dishonest is how the county recklessly spends taxpayers money on needless programs and overregulation.

Posted by: island 1 | February 27, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

At first glance, Delegate Ali's proposal seems fine. But I wonder if, rather than outlawing fundraising during a special session, it might be better to regulate it.

Ten and more years ago, I regularly had to file certain work activities with the state in advance. In other words, I could not show up at literally thousands of specific locations, to do specific work, on ANY day, unless I had notified the state twenty to fifty days in advance of my intention to do so on a specific date. That practice continues today for many hundreds, if not more than a thousand Marylanders.

So, rather than have a fight about outlawing fundraising during occasional unpredictable special sessions every few years, why not just regulate fundraising all year every year? Have legislators and elected officials file fundraising events with the state 30/60/90/120 days in advance, just like the state already requires certain categories to do today.If you file in time you're clean, if not you're dirty. The state already has the apparatus in place to monitor. They just need more teeth when dealing with their budget masters.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | February 27, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Delegate, your e-mail doesn't work. Could you check it please? Question, why did Sen. Garagiola and his mentor Sen. Mike Miller originate the computer tax in the State Senate and then vote for and pass it 24-23?

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | February 28, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

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