Montgomery Neighbors Must Give $14,000 Back to Empower PAC by Nov. 29

Montgomery Neighbors Must Give $14,000 Back to Empower PAC by Nov. 29

Spokesman says group also owes $1,400 to the state due to campaign finance violation

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Montgomery Neighbors logo

File photo

Montgomery Neighbors PAC, a group that has been sending mailers targeted against Nancy Floreen’s independent campaign for Montgomery County executive, has until Nov. 29 to pay back more than two-thirds of the money it took from a political action committee that is supporting one of her opponents, Democratic nominee Marc Elrich.

After Montgomery Neighbors accepted $20,000 from Empower PAC on Oct. 17, Floreen’s campaign lodged a complaint Friday with the Maryland State Board of Elections, alleging that Montgomery Neighbors violated state election law by accepting more than the total of $6,000 that a PAC may take from an out-of-state PAC. According to the state elections board’s campaign finance database, Empower PAC is a Washington, D.C.-based PAC that supports progressive candidates at the local and national level, but is officially registered in Delaware.

In an interview Thursday morning, Montgomery Neighbors spokesman Eric Hensal said the PAC’s treasurer held a conference call Tuesday with Jared DeMarinis, the state elections board’s director of candidacy and campaign finance and a member of the Office of the State Prosecutor. The parties, he said, worked out an agreement by which Montgomery Neighbors would be required to pay $14,000, the amount of overage accepted by the group, back to Empower PAC. An additional $1,400, or 10 percent, penalty was assessed by the state, he said.

Hensal said the PAC has 30 days from the date of the conference call to pay back the money, which would mean the payments must be made by Nov. 29. He said the PAC intends to comply with the rules, but must raise the money within the 30-day period period. The PAC has spent $27,000 on the anti-Floreen mailers and had no money in its bank account as of Oct. 21 according to its filing with the board of elections.

“We’re still out raising money. We’re just going to figure out how to make that all whole. We’re not going to leave it hanging out there. It’s too important,” he said.

The state prosecutor’s office could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

This story will be updated.

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

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