Ask the Experts - Maryland Pay-to-Play Restrictions - State and Federal Communications

February 22, 2016  •  

Ask the Experts – Maryland Pay-to-Play Restrictions

Nola WerrenQ. I want to contribute to an acquaintance in Maryland.  I know there are pay-to-play restrictions.  What are my personal limitations?

A. Is your company “doing public business” with the state of Maryland?  “Doing public business” means having a single contract (an agreement in any form entered into by a governmental entity for a procurement) with a single governmental entity involving cumulative consideration of at least $200,000.  Governmental entity means: (1) the State, a county, a municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the State; and (2) a unit of the State, a county, a municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the State.

Contributions in Maryland are still permissible even though your employing organization is doing public business.  The issue is not permissibility, but whether disclosure is required.  If you are an officer or director and the contribution is $500 or more, it must be disclosed.

  • Director is a member of the board of directors of a business entity
    [M.C.E.L. §14-101(g)].
  • Officer includes an individual who serves as a business entity’s chief executive officer, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, chief financial officer, managing partner, managing member, or principal or in any other formal or informal role in which the individual exercises substantial independent responsibility for managing the affairs of a business entity [M.C.E.L. §14-101(k)].

If you fall into either category, disclosure is required to the Board of Elections on May 31 and November 30.

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