Cumberland Times-News


July 14, 2014

Heard it all

What don’t they understand about filing?

— Pesky thing, this requirement that political candidates file campaign finance reports.

What business is it of ours, anyway, where, when and how they stock their campaign war chests? You know, right to privacy, freedom of speech and expression, that sort of thing.

The list of politicians who have wound up in hot water because of campaign financing irregularities is long, indeed. An official in Massachusetts was indicted for allegedly siphoning $1.65 million from the state’s lottery advertising funds to use in his campaign. He eventually paid a $100,000 fine.

One of the more notorious cases in recent years involved former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, who was convicted in 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy charges related to illegal campaign finance activities allegedly committed on behalf of Republicans. An appeals court ultimately overturned his conviction.

Jared DeMarinis is director of candidacy and campaign finance for the Maryland State Board of Election, and he’s the one our politicians call with excuses when they find out the state is fining them for not filing campaign finance reports on time. He told The Daily Record he’s just about heard it all.

Last week, the state election board approved 33 requests for waivers, some because there was a death in the family or other personal problem.

The most popular excuse is that campaign officials didn’t understand how to use the computer software. (In some cases, the failure involved neglecting to hit the button that sends the report on its electronic way to Annapolis.)

Often, the waiver is requested on grounds that having to pay the fine will pose an undue financial hardship. (We wonder how well that one would go over in traffic court.)

Most of the waivers are granted to the campaigns of people who simply ran for office and had no idea of what they were doing or were required to do.

Based on our observations, that description could apply in more ways than one to many of those who decide to run for office.

Text Only
  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo