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Brown campaign files complaint over Gansler ‘save-the-date’ email

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign has filed a formal complaint against rival Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler’s campaign, accusing it of fundraising during the General Assembly session.

The complaint filed Thursday with the Maryland State Board of Elections points to a “save the date” notice the Gansler campaign sent out by email for two events that will occur in late April, after the session is over.

Although the events — a concert and a breakfast — were not identified as fundraisers in Tuesday’s email, and a link for ticket information was inoperable, a Gansler campaign spokeswoman confirmed to the Washington Post that the events are fundraisers.

In its complaint, the Brown campaign says the timing of the events is not relevant, as the Maryland Election Law prevents state officials from “solicit[ing] a ticket to a fund-raising event” during the session.

Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for the Gansler campaign, called the complaint “complete nonsense.”

“We relied completely on advice from the State Board of Elections saying that campaigns can send ‘save the date’ notices,” Hill wrote in an email.

She also called the complaint a “campaign stunt” designed to distract attention from the lieutenant governor’s oversight of the “failed health exchange,” among other things.

This is not the first time the fundraising restriction has arisen as an issue in the current Democratic primary campaign. The Board of Elections ruled in December that Howard County Executive Kenneth Ulman, Brown’s running mate, was not barred from raising funds during the session because he is not a state official. A suit challenging that interpretation was filed by Gansler supporters but dismissed by an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge in February. Even so, the Brown-Ulman campaign promised it would not raise funds during the legislative session, which ends April 7.

Brown, Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur, D-Montgomery, will face each other in the Democratic primary on June 24.

Legal affairs writer Danny Jacobs contributed to this article. 

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