first complaint, filed in June, asked the board to investigate whether nearly 100 businesses and individuals, including several former members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board, gave donations to Hogan that exceeded the $6,000 legal limit for an election cycle.
The second one alleged that Hogan took contributions over the legal limit from a number of “suspicious LLCs.” Democratic Party officials alleged that the campaign improperly received more than $200,000 from several individuals and nine groups of potentially affiliated companies after those donors had reached the individual donation limit.
“We don’t investigate corporate structure or ownership, so therefore we can’t determine the veracity of the complaint,” DeMarinis said of the decision to refer that complaint to the state prosecutor’s office.
Under Maryland law, any liability for exceeding the campaign limit falls on the donor, not the campaign that receives the money.
Chris Ashby, Hogan’s campaign attorney, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. He previously called the initial complaint a “shoddy political hit job” and said that in at least five of the cases the Democratic Party cited, the campaign refunded donations that exceeded the limit.
“Our campaign always has been and will remain committed to operating within the limits established by Maryland law, to making full and timely campaign finance disclosures as the law requires, and to correcting any bookkeeping errors promptly as we have done in the past,” Ashby said in June.
He called the second complaint a “media stunt” and said there was “zero legal basis” for it.
Ben Smith, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said he was pleased to learn from election officials that the investigation is continuing.
DeMarinis declined to comment on specifics of the investigation.