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Cardin withdraws lawsuit against PAC

A lawsuit filed Monday by Del. Jon S. Cardin was withdrawn the same day after a political action committee filed required campaign finance reports.

Cardin, the leading candidate for attorney general, filed the motion withdrawing his lawsuit after Marylanders for Integrity in Government filed a report listing its donors and expenditures.

“All we were trying to get the PAC to do was to file the report,” said Andy Carton, a spokesman for Cardin’s campaign. “We don’t think they should be able to keep their donors a secret.”

Cardin filed suit Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court after the political action committee missed a Friday deadline to file a required report listing its donors and expenses.

Over the last few weeks, the committee has mailed at least two campaign pieces to voters in Maryland and run a television ad targeting Cardin on issues such as his use of a police helicopter and marine unit in a marriage proposal and his failure to vote on nearly 75 percent of bills that came through the committee he was assigned to this year.

Cardin is locked in a heated three-way Democratic primary against Del. Aisha N. Braveboy and state Sen. Brian E. Frosh.

The suit alleged that the political action committee committed fraud “by failing to disclose who or what entity donated money” to the committee.

Cardin asked for an injunction against the committee to prevent it from engaging in further campaign activities until it files the required reports. The suit also sought unspecified monetary damages as well as attorney’s fees.

Under current law, political action committees that fail to file required reports are treated the same as individual candidates. Failure to file carries a fine of $20 per day for the first six business days and then $10 per day for each business day thereafter. The total fine is capped at $250.

Marylanders for Integrity in Government was fined $20 for being one day late in filing its only report this year.

Next year, the fines for filing late will increase to $1,000 per day, weekends included, or 10 percent of the total amount spent by the committee during the reporting period, whichever is greater.

Officers for the committee listed in board of elections records did not respond to requests for an interview.

In its six-page report, the committee disclosed it raised $150,000 from three unions. Two organizations related to the Service Employees International Union donated a total of $100,000. Another $50,000 was donated by Washington, D.C.-based American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees International.

Carton declined to comment on the contents of the report.

Marylanders for Integrity in Government is one of two so-called Super PACs operating in the state in the current election. The organizations have an advantage over regular political action committees in that they can raise unlimited amounts of money from individual donors and organizations as long as they are involved only in expenditures that are not coordinated with an individual candidate.