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Suit challenges when candidates for statewide office can fundraise

Thursday - 12/26/2013, 7:56pm  ET

WASHINGTON - An elections board ruling that allows a candidate for lieutenant governor to raise money during Maryland's legislative session is being challenged in court.

Attorney Daniel Clements filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a ruling in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Statewide officeholders and state legislators cannot raise money during the session. But the Maryland State Board of Elections has issued guidance saying Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's running mate, can raise money during the 90-day legislative session in Annapolis.

The board's decision would give the Brown-Ulman campaign an advantage over Brown's opponent, Attorney General Doug Gansler. Gansler and his running mate, Delegate Jolene Ivey, are both barred from raising campaign cash.

The board says a candidate not covered by the ban may raise funds as long as the candidate does not coordinate with the official who is banned during the restricted period.

Clements calls the Brown-Ulman campaign a "single ticket."

Clements, a Gansler supporter, filed the suit on behalf of two Maryland residents, who are also Gansler supporters. Clements says the lawsuit was filed independently of the Gansler campaign.

"Brown knows, because he is a lawyer, that the purpose of the law is to prohibit not only clear bribes during the session, but the appearance of impropriety. He is clearly gaming the system," if Brown allows Ulman to fundraise during the session in Annapolis, Clements said.

"It doesn't look good. It smells bad. It's sleazy-looking," he said.

Clements says the lawsuit asks for a hearing before the legislative session starts on Jan. 8.

WTOP's Kate Ryan and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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