O’Malley fundraising during 2006 legislative session cited in fight over what’s legal in 2014

In the fight over who can raise money during Maryland’s legislative session, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) might be Exhibit A for the defense.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) pointed to O’Malley’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign when asked about the controversy during a television interview last week.

O’Malley, who was mayor of Baltimore in 2006, raised more than $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign during that year’s 90-day legislative session, and nobody objected.

As a local official, O’Malley was not covered by a Maryland ban on fundraising during that applies to legislators and statewide elected officials the session. But the ban did apply to his running mate — Brown, then the majority whip in the House of Delegates.

Eight years later, Brown is running for governor, and his running mate is Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D). The State Board of Elections has ruled that Ulman, a local official, can keep raising money when the legislative session starts next week. But supporters of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Brown’s chief rival in the June Democratic primary, have filed a lawsuit contending that Ulman should be prohibited from raising money because he is running in “coordination” with Brown.

Gansler is subject to the ban, as is his running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s).

When asked last week on News Channel 8’s “News Talk with Bruce DePuyt” about Ulman’s plans to keep raising money, Brown said, “There’s sort of precedent for that,” and he cited what happened with him and O’Malley.

“More importantly, all candidates need to need to ensure that they’re complying with the law as it’s written, the law as interpreted by the State Board of Elections, and that’s certainly what we intend to do,” Brown added.

Daniel M. Clements, the attorney for the Gansler supporters, argued in an interview that O’Malley isn’t a particularly relevant precedent.

Clements said that governor and lieutenant governor hopefuls become “married” when they file as candidates with the State Board of Elections. “That’s the trigger,” Clements said.

O’Malley announced Brown as his running mate before the 2006 legislative session, but the ticket did not file with the state board until late June, more than two months after the session had ended.

Prior to this election cycle, primaries were held in September. This year, they are in June, which has accelerated activities. Brown and Ulman filed for office more than three months ago.

There appear to be no perfect precedents for what has transpired this cycle.

In 2006, for example, then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) was covered by the fundraising ban and picked a running mate who was not covered: Kristen Cox, the state’s disabilities secretary. But Ehrlich did not announce Cox’s selection until after the legislative session had ended.

Likewise, when then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) ran for governor in 2002, she did not name a running mate until June. Her pick, former Naval Academy Superintendent Charles R. Larson, was not covered by the fundraising ban. But because the session was over when Townsend chose Larson, his status under the ban was not an issue.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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