Anti-Floreen PAC Receives $20K from Pro-Elrich Union PAC

Anti-Floreen PAC Receives $20K from Pro-Elrich Union PAC

Montgomery Neighbors spent $27,000 on mailers this month

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Montgomery Neighbors logo

Montgomery Neighbors website

Montgomery Neighbors, a political action committee that has been sending mailers to voters aimed at highlighting developer contributions to independent Montgomery County executive candidate Nancy Floreen, accepted a $20,000 contribution this month from a PAC that is supporting her opponent in the race, Democrat Marc Elrich, according to campaign finance records.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections campaign finance database, Empower PAC, a Washington, D.C.-based PAC that supports progressive candidates at the local and national level, made the donation on Oct. 17. On its website, Empower PAC lists a number of candidates it supports, including Elrich. Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, is also listed with his running mate, Susan Turnbull.

Floreen, Elrich and Republican Robin Ficker are running for county executive in the Nov. 6 general election.

[For more information on the candidates and others running in the Nov. 6 general election, check out the Bethesda Beat 2018 Voters’ Guide.]

Empower PAC also lists workers’ rights as one of its primary causes on the website, and lists a number of unions as resources including the AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), both of which have endorsed Elrich. Empower PAC’s treasurer, according to the site, is Gino Renne, who is the president of UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, which represents the majority of the county’s workforce. Renne could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

Montgomery Neighbors was formed Sept. 18 by activist and former Rockville mayoral candidate Drew Powell. At the time, Powell said the PAC’s goal was to point out the number of developers that have contributed to Floreen’s campaign, but that the PAC itself was not supporting or opposing any specific candidates.

With the Nov. 6 general election now less than two weeks away, Montgomery Neighbors has been sending mailers that state Floreen is “The Development Industry’s Choice for Montgomery County Executive” and label her “90% Nancy,” a nickname based on the percentage of  the total amount of contributions she has received that appear to have come from developers. The mailers include a photo of Floreen juxtaposed against a background of $100 bills. According to the Board of Elections database, Montgomery Neighbors spent nearly $27,000 on the mailers.

In addition to the money from Empower PAC, Montgomery Neighbors has also accepted more than $13,000 from individuals, including Elrich supporters such as Diana Conway of Potomac, who has hosted fundraisers at her home in the past for Elrich, and donated $1,000 to Montgomery Neighbors. Consultant Caren Madsen of Silver Spring, who has worked on behalf of Elrich’s campaign, donated more than $500 to Montgomery Neighbors.

Because Elrich is participating in Montgomery County’s public campaign financing program, he is not allowed to accept money from PACs. But according to Maryland election law, a PAC may give up to $6,000 to another PAC.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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