Monday, October 25, 2010

Mary Kane Used Campaign Funds to Pay The Kane Company

GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Mary Kane has run for office twice before in Montgomery County. On both occasions, she used campaign funds to pay her family-owned firm, The Kane Company.

The Kane Company is a furniture moving and installation firm headed by John M. Kane, who is Mary Kane’s husband and a former Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. Mary Kane is a former director of the company. She denies owning company stock, but acknowledges that she would take full ownership of the company if John passes away and would be entitled to half of the company if the couple divorces. The firm is currently being sued by the federal government for wage and hour violations.

Mary Kane was a candidate for the Montgomery County Council’s District 1 seat in a 2000 special election. She lost in the Republican primary to former Senator Howie Denis, who won the general election. She also ran for a District 15 House seat in 2002, losing in the general election to Democrats Brian Feldman and Kathleen Dumais. On both occasions, she used campaign funds to pay The Kane Company.

Here is a complete list of payments from Mary Kane’s campaign account to the firm. All of these payments occurred during the time that Kane was a member of the company’s Board of Directors (1997-2003).

In 2000, Kane made one payment of $2,992.50 to the company for “media” in February that was not cashed and was credited back to her account. In 2002, Kane made five payments to the company totaling $32,007.12. Four of them totaling $26,016.84 were made on 12/30/02 – after she had already lost the general election. The 2002 payments were made for “salaries and other compensations,” “printing and campaign materials” and “field expenses.”

The Kane Company is not a political consulting firm – it’s an office mover. So why was it being paid for “salaries,” materials and field expenses? Did any of these payments of campaign money generate a profit for the company? If so, does that violate the state’s prohibition on campaign funds being spent for personal use?

One last footnote: Bob Ehrlich’s campaign paid The Kane Company too: $349.42 on 10/1/10 for “supplies for signs.”