Group Gives Answers in Baker's Election Funding Controversy - NBC4 Washington

Group Gives Answers in Baker's Election Funding Controversy



    Group Answers Questions Over Baker's Election Controversy

    The group under fire for Rushern Baker's campaign donations has a new person in charge of fundraising. More than $200,000 dollars in contributions to Baker's 2010 run for Prince George's County Executive was not reported. News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins gets answers from some of the key players behind the committee. (Published Tuesday, July 23, 2013)

    A new treasurer for a campaign fundraising committee is providing transparency following a controversial $200,000 donation to Rushern Baker's 2010 run for county executive.

    Aaron Copeland is replacing Thomas Felder after the committee, County 1, was fined for incomplete reports and for not filing any financial reports for the past two years.

    "If there are any reports that haven't been filed, there are penalties associated with it, but I haven't seen the file yet," Copeland said.

    Copeland showed News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins the checks in question -- an estimated $200,000 was donated by an arm of Southern Management, a prominent property management company  in the county. The state has records of the contribution being spent, but not filed.

    "We thought the treasurer was filing everything appropriately and when we realized that, we realized we needed to get a different person in that position," County 1's chairman Kenneth Johnson said.

    The group raised money for Baker and some Maryland delegates. Johnson, who served on Baker's county executive transition team, said the issue is due to a lack of oversight and not impropriety.

    "We go to make sure we have the right person in place," Johnson said. "I think we have that now, and we'll make sure everything gets reported."

    Jared DeMarinis oversees campaign finance for the Maryland Board of Elections. His office levied the fines against the committee and assigned a deadline for a completed report. He said, that's all his office can do.

    "If the reports are not in compliance with the law, then the state prosecutor has the authority to bring actions against the committees responsible officers," DeMarinis said.