Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund – Virtual Forum on August 12th

Common Cause Maryland posted the following event information on Facebook:

Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund – Virtual Forum


Online Event – Free

The Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund is available for use!


If you’re a candidate who has already opted into the program, a potential candidate considering use of the program or a resident of the county, join us to learn more about the people-powered program.

Featured Speakers:

Suzanne Geckle, Chair of the Citizens’ Election Fund Committee

Jared DeMarinis, Director of Candidacy and Campaign Finance for MD State Board of Elections

Speakers will provide an update on the status of the Fund, provide an overview of the Howard County law, and answer questions about the specifics of the program

The Citizens’ Election Fund Forum is open to all who are interested in learning more about the program, including campaign staff and political parties. Candidates are encourage to invite their Treasurers to attend.



Currently in Howard County we know two candidates have announced they are planning to use the Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund: Christiana Rigby (District 3) and Deb Jung (District 4).

I am pretty confident that Neveen Kurtom (District 1) is not planning on using this fund this election cycle (base on a recent post about an upcoming fundraising event – see the “Sponsor” prices).

No idea about Darren Vilus at this point or any other candidates yet.

I was really hoping to attend but I have a work commitment that afternoon and not sure I will make it back by 6:00pm. I REALLY hope Common Cause posts the Zoom video online for people to watch after the fact.

If I attended and had the opportunity to ask a question…here would be mine (sorry if it is long…there is a lot to it):

What in the law or regulation prevents a candidate from “gaming” this system by having multiple campaign finance entities?

We already know that a candidate this election cycle can have raised money in a finance entity (entity 1) outside of the rules for the CEF (accepting large donations, PAC money, money from LLCs…as examples) and then announce this election cycle they plan to use the CEF and create a new campaign finance entity (entity 2) for that purpose.

We know that “entity 1” must be inactivated and no longer used this election cycle (although that “big money” was raised and money was spent towards the 2022 election cycle) and all future money raised and spent must be through “entity 2” the CEF funded entity.

So what prevents a candidate from switching back to campaign finance “entity 1” after they win this election cycle and raising big money funds for a couple of years…and then jumping into the CEF program with another entity (lets call that “entity 3”) in the 2026 election cycle?

I already have concerns that this is allowed to happen this election cycle but I have even bigger concerns that this will be allowed to happen in future election cycles with this public funding of candidates running for office in Howard County.

Back to my original question…

What in the law or regulation prevents a candidate from doing this in the future? I would like the specific lines in the law or regulations…because I have not been able to find it based on the rules of THIS election cycle that are being allowed.

I hope that is clear…if not…please feel free to reach out. I am happy to further explain.

Hopefully someone hosting this session or attending this session will read this and address this concern in the session on the 12th.

Scott E

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