Are you a resident of Howard County looking to learn more about the rules and regulations surrounding campaign finance? If so, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll discuss the voluntary program for funding campaigns by small donors for County Executive and County Council candidate campaigns, as well as the regulations and reporting requirements enforced by the state of Maryland. We'll also explore the implications of Howard County's public campaign finance law, and how it affects candidates and voters alike. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is responsible for governing federal election campaigns and setting contribution limits.
However, individual states have their own regulations and reporting requirements that must be followed. This is why it's essential to understand the rules and regulations in your state before making any campaign contributions. In Maryland, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) of Maryland and the Howard Coalition for Fair Elections are two organizations that are actively involved in promoting fair elections. In November 2020, Howard County voters approved Question A, which directed the Howard County Council to establish a new way to finance County Council and County Executive elections through a small donor matching program. This was done in an effort to limit large corporate contributions to campaigns.
The Howard Coalition for Fair Elections, a coalition of good government groups, businesses, communities, unions and environmentalists, has been instrumental in supporting efforts to secure funding from small donors for local election campaigns. Under Howard County's public campaign finance law, electoral candidates must submit themselves to receive public matching funds. Additionally, the possibility of an election being contested must be decided on the first Tuesday in August before the election. Unfortunately, this early deadline means that no one will qualify for public funding in the primary elections, when that funding is often more vital. The Fund for Citizen Elections was created to provide public funding for the campaign of a candidate for a county office. This was done in an effort to reduce the role of large private contributions during the electoral process and encourage small private donations instead.
Despite this, former county executive Allan Kittleman vetoed legislation that established the county's public campaign finance program for fear of using taxpayer money to finance it. However, current county executive Calvin Ball has said he will participate in the Citizen Election Fund during this election cycle. This decision was made despite a Federal Election Commission decision that overturned biennial aggregate limits on contributions to election campaigns. On Wednesday, nearly 75 supporters of the Howard County Citizen Election Fund program attended a demonstration and public hearing to support Municipal Bill 30 (CB30). At the hearing itself, all but one of the 20 community members who testified supported the program. Unfortunately, due to a technical detail of the county's legislation, Howard County Councilwoman Deb Jung (D) didn't get a candidate in the primary until December. This means she won't be able to receive public funding for her campaign. In conclusion, it's important to understand your state's rules and regulations when it comes to campaign finance.
In Maryland, organizations like PIRG and the Howard Coalition for Fair Elections are actively involved in promoting fair elections. Additionally, Howard County has its own public campaign finance law that requires electoral candidates to submit themselves to receive public matching funds. However, due to a technical detail of the county's legislation, some candidates may not be able to receive public funding.