Attorney general says Ehrlich radio show not an illegal campaign contribution
The Maryland Attorney General's Office is advising state elections officials not to treat former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s weekly radio show on WBAL as an illegal campaign contribution by the station, as the Maryland Democratic Party has alleged it is.
In a letter Monday to Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone, an assistant attorney general writes that "state efforts to regulate media appearances by a candidate, potential candidate or others through a state's campaign finance laws raise significant First Amendment concerns. That is true even when the person appearing has some practical control over the content of the broadcast, including as host. ... [The State Board of Elections] should decline to treat the radio broadcasts complained of as an illegal contribution to the Ehrlich campaign."
The Democrats had complained to the elections board about Ehrlich (R) continuing to co-host "The Kendel and Bob Show" on Saturday mornings, since Ehrlich has announced his rematch with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Ehrlich and his wife launched the WBAL show in 2007, shortly after O'Malley took office.
Ehrlich has said he plans to go off the air in July, after filing his official papers to become a candidate. He announced his comeback campaign in early April and his been making public appearances as a candidate since then.
-- John Wagner
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