The Daily Record: Md. Lawmaker Wants Developer Campaign Cash Curbed in Howard Co.

By Adam Bednar  
November 13, 2019   

A Maryland lawmaker intends to keep pushing legislation intended to ease development pressure on Howard County by restricting builders’ ability to dole out campaign contributions.

Del. Warren Miller, a Republican, said he plans to press a bill restricting developers’ ability to furnish campaign contributions to county elected officials while builders seek government approvals on matters such as zoning amendments.

“We really need to find creative ways to slow (development) down,” Miller said.

The legislation places a moratorium on developers’ providing campaign funds for 36 months before seeking a ruling on a development issue, and would require they disclose contributions of at least $500 to an elected official’s campaign account or to an associated slate of candidates. Elected officials, in case an application comes before them within three years of receiving a donation, would be required to recuse themselves from any vote or decision.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, a Democrat who spoke at a Greater Baltimore Committee “Newsmaker Breakfast” Wednesday morning, said after the meeting that he wasn’t familiar with Miller’s proposal but generally supports restricting campaign financing. Ball said he worked hard to pass a reform bill as a council member, which wasn’t advanced until he was county executive.

“I definitely understand people’s concerns about undue access and undue influence, and I think there should be transparency, and that elected officials should represent their constituency in the best interest of their county,” Ball said, adding that it’s up to the county delegation to decide whether restrictions should be narrowly applied to developers.

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Source: The Daily Record