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Administrative law — Board of Elections — Due process

In 2016, Claudia Barber (“Ms. Barber”), one of the appellants in this case, was a candidate seeking to be elected to serve as a judge on the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Her campaign committee, named “Judicial Campaign of Claudia Barber” (the “Committee”), is also an appellant. During the 2016 election cycle, the Committee filed periodic reports of its income and expenses with the Maryland State Board of Elections (“the Board”), appellee. By letter dated November 15, 2016, the Board’s Director of the Candidacy and Campaign Finance Division notified the treasurer of Ms. Barber’s Committee that the Board had reviewed the campaign finance reports filed by the Committee and had concluded that certain reported expenditures for the payment of legal fees were not permissible campaign expenses, and therefore, the amounts paid for legal expenses “must be reimbursed by the candidate.” The letter provided a list of payments that totaled $8,769.46, and stated: “Please be advised that you have thirty (30) days from the date of this notice to provide this office with evidence that the campaign has been reimbursed for the impermissible expenditures. Failure to correct these violations will result in the matter being referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor. If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact the Audit and Enforcement Unit (AEU) at 410-269-[####].” Within 30 days after receiving the letter, Ms. Barber reported that she had repaid $8,769.46 to the Committee. But she also exchanged e-mails with employees of the Board, disputing the Board’s conclusion that the payments were not permissible campaign expenses. …

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