Kensington mayor says he has repaid town for reimbursements of political contributions he made

May 12, 2012

Peter C. Fosselman, the Kensington mayor who was improperly reimbursed by the Montgomery County town for campaign contributions to fellow politicians, says he has repaid the funds.

Fosselman, early in his mayoral career, made small donations to 13 political campaigns and sought town reimbursements for the contributions over 10 months. During that time, he donated more than $1,100 to campaigns in Maryland and had almost all of it reimbursed.

Maryland law, like federal law, prohibits contributions on behalf of another person or entity. Election lawyers say that because the town reimbursed Fosselman, the contributions — made in 2007 and 2008 — were the town’s, even though state records said they were his.

Fosselman has said he had learned that it was “probably not considered the best practice” and previously tried to return the funds, but town legislators declined.

In a newsletter received by residents Friday, Fosselman — who is running for his fourth two-year term — said he has repaid the town $1,105, the amount he was reimbursed.


Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman. (Dan Gross/THE GAZETTE)

“I certainly appreciate in retrospect that this practice was not a good use of Town funds,” he wrote.

Town officials could not be immediately reached to verify the payment. Town manager Sanford W. Daily and town attorney Suellen M. Ferguson did not return e-mails Saturday.

Fosselman, who last year became Maryland’s deputy secretary of state, declined to comment for this story.

Fosselman told some Montgomery officials about his decision on Monday. In an e-mail he sent to Council member George L. Leventhal (D-At Large), who received $100, Fosselman said he was concerned about the reputations of the town and the recipients of the contributions.

Fosselman told Council member Valerie Ervin (D-Eastern County), who received $125, of his decision at a Maryland Democratic Party gala on Monday.

“I didn’t know what else to say but ‘I think it’s the right decision,’ ” she said Saturday.

Lydia Sullivan, a town council member and critic of Fosselman, said he has not been sufficiently apologetic. “An after-the-fact payment just before the election should not be taken seriously as an admission to any wrongdoing,” Sullivan said.

But John Thompson, another council member, approved: “I think his explanation stands on its own.”

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