BALTIMORE — Recently filed financial reports show that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her husband, City Council Speaker Nick Mosby, spent tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for local attorneys. defendant in a federal criminal investigation.
Friends of Marilyn Mosby, the campaign finance committee headed by the incumbent Baltimore state attorney, reported handing over $37,500 to Washington DC law firm Reed Smith LLP, in April and September 2021 .
Ms Mosby was charged on January 13 with perjury and misrepresentation on mortgage applications, relating to the purchase of two vacation homes in Florida.
Her attorney, A. Scott Bolden, claims she is innocent and has called the investigation a politically motivated witch hunt.
None of the charges against Ms. Mosby appear to be related to her campaign or candidacy for Baltimore state’s attorney, although prosecutors issued multiple subpoenas last March, seeking information about her and the her husband’s activities and campaigns dating back to January 2014.
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So far, Mr. Mosby has not been charged with any crime.
Financial forms show his campaign committee also wired $12,500 of campaign funds to pay legal fees to Reed Smith LLP between April and June 2021.
Is it legal for politicians to spend their campaign funds on personal legal fees?
Pursuant to Regulation 33.13.10.03 of the Code of Maryland, “a political committee may not expend campaign funds, directly or indirectly, regardless of the amount for legal defense costs or expenses, except those related to investigations or legal actions arising from the conduct of campaign or election.”
Section 9.9(2) of Maryland’s Consolidated Guide to Nomination and Campaign Finance Laws reads similarly.
“A candidate or political committee is prohibited from using campaign funds for legal or other expenses related to investigations or legal proceedings not directly related to the candidacy. For example, investigations or charges involving misconduct in an individual’s employment or public office are unrelated to the campaign, even if the charges first come to light as a result of the individual’s decision to report to Non-campaign legal fees are considered “personal” expenses for the purposes of campaign finance laws.
Last year, the political power couple also organized their own personal legal defense fund.
Although the Board of Elections allows candidates to create a fund separate from their campaign committee, it notes in its summary guide that “if the candidate is an office holder, the ethics rules on gifts and disclosures may be s ‘apply”.
It’s unclear how much the Mosbys have amassed for their defense.
If convicted, Ms Mosby faces a maximum sentence of 70 years behind bars. She is re-eligible at the end of June. His lawyer is pushing for the case to go to trial in a few months.