Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kagan Calls on Forehand to Reveal Hidden Contributions‏

District 17 challenger Cheryl Kagan is calling on Senator Jennie Forehand to disclose the identity of all of her campaign contributors, a practice that Forehand has not always followed in the past. Kagan's challenge is based on our research last November, in which we found that Forehand was the biggest user of "lump sums" - a campaign finance reporting technique used to avoid disclosing donors - in the county, and the third-biggest user in the entire state. Following is Kagan's press release.


For more information, contact:
Will Rice at will@cherylkagan.org


(ROCKVILLE, September 6, 2010) Former Delegate and State Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan today hand-delivered a letter to Jennie Forehand, calling her bluff on her willingness to disclose the identities of $36,351 in bundled contributions. Not only is this required by law, but Senator Forehand has stated publicly that she is willing to do so. Despite that, she has not yet complied with Kagan’s repeated requests.

The letter to the 32-year incumbent is below.

September 6, 2010

Dear Jennie:

As you know, I have been concerned for some time with your unwillingness to release the names of all your campaign contributors. At a time of increasing public cynicism with politics and government, it is important for everyone in public service to follow the law and make it clear who is funding our campaigns. I’ve always gone above and beyond what the law requires, most recently with my “Clean Seventeen” pledge to voluntarily close the “LLC Loophole” and accept contributions of not more than half the legal limit.

I’m particularly concerned about your repeated use of the “lump sum” category in campaign finance reports. These anonymous conglomerations of what are supposed to be small donations are meant to be used sparingly. But over the past 10 years, you have reported one-fifth of your total contributions, or $36,351, as lump sums. That’s four times more than any other Montgomery County officeholder or candidate. One lump sum, of $14,085 on 8/2/02, was described by the respected Maryland Politics Watch blog as “remarkable.” MPW went on to say: “...[W]hen a candidate employs [lump sums] to shield one-tenth, one-fifth or more of his or her donor base from identification, that creates the possibility of abuse.”

As you know, the donations that make up lump sums are meant to be under $51; anyone who donates more than that-- whether once or cumulatively-- is supposed to be reported by name. To reach this total in donations in increments of $51 or less would mean you have over 700 donors you are refusing to name. (As reported in Maryland Politics Watch 11/20/09)

In recent months, it looked as though you had finally broken your “lump sum” habit. But in your latest financial report just posted, it’s clear you abused the system again, listing what appears to be a single donation as a lump sum! The only explanation is that you wish to hide the identity of this mysterious donor.

There is a simple way to resolve this situation. At our last debate, I called on you to disclose all of your campaign contributors. You said you could, since you still had photocopies of all the checks (as required by law), and would do it if you “ever have the time.” If you don’t have the time, I offer the services of my campaign to do the job.

We will come to any convenient place you name, bring a photocopier, and at our expense and under the dual supervision of our respective campaigns’ treasurers, make copies of each of the checks that have comprised your lump sum amounts. This information can then be made available to the press and public.

Because of the importance of this issue and short time before Election Day, I am making this letter available to the media so they can judge the adequacy and timeliness of your response.

If you fail to agree to this proposal today, I will assume your claim that you have nothing to hide is insincere and allow the voters of District 17 to draw their own conclusions.



Cheryl C. Kagan