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Maryland: how to avoid campaign-donation limits

The Baltimore Sun reports: Supporters of both political parties are sidestepping the contribution limits set by Maryland law through a variety of strategies that allow them to make virtually unlimited donations and pump millions of extra dollars into the state's highest-profile races.

The loophole-aided largesse has already helped Maryland's two candidates for governor raise a record amount of money - $24 million - with millions more expected before the general election Nov. 7. ...

Maryland campaign finance laws say donors may not give more than $4,000 to a candidate for state office and cannot donate more than $10,000 overall to state candidates during a four-year election cycle. The limits are designed to ensure that a small group of wealthy contributors do not unduly influence the outcome of a race.

But those limits, albeit legally, are being circumvented in several ways. Donors, particularly to Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his Democratic opponent, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, are giving through multiple companies or to state and federal campaign accounts controlled by state parties that then shift the money back to candidates. -- Donation limits bypassed - baltimoresun.com

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