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Baker spokesman: Campaign will release donor names 'in due time'

Jonathan Mummolo

What a difference a month makes.

After initially saying that the campaign had no problem releasing the names of donors to a slate that gave the campaign more than $200,000 last month, James Adams, spokesman for Prince George's County executive candidate Rushern L. Baker III, now says he "misspoke" and that he can't say when the campaign will make the names public.

After a campaign finance report last month in which Baker showed a strong financial statement with more than $300,000 cash on hand, campaign finance records showed that about two-thirds of that sum came from donors who are not yet public.

The reason is that Baker's campaign got the money from a slate -- a group of candidates who raise money collectively -- called "County 1 Now" that was formed too recently to require disclosure of its donors until the next campaign finance reporting deadline in August. The slate was formed Jan. 5, and on Jan. 13 had donated a whopping $206,000 to Baker's campaign committee.

Questioned about the donors last month, Adams said he did not have the donor information at hand, because both Baker and the campaign treasurer were on vacation, but that he would work on obtaining the names for release.

"There's no secret," Adams said of the slate's funding sources at the time. "There are going to be no secrets about anything in our campaign."

On Thursday, however, Adams said that a "campaign decision had been made," and that the documents would be released "in due time, just as every other campaign must release the same information. I don't have a time frame for its release."

A request for comment from Baker was not immediately returned.

Del. Gerron S. Levi, who is also running for county executive, said the decision to take the slate's money but withhold the names of donors until a later date violated "the spirit" of campaign finance law. She said she introduced a bill on Wednesday co-sponsored by 14 other legislators "to close that loophole that they're exploiting."

"It doesn't matter what the source is, just tell us," Levi said. "I think the public has a right to know who is trying to influence campaigns in Prince George's County, and $206,000 is a lot of influence."

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  February 18, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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