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June 18,2018

Chairman David J. McManus, Jr.
Vice Chairman Patrick J. Hogan
Maryland State Board of Elections
L51 West Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, MD 2L4OL

DELIVERED VIA EMAIL

Dear Chairman McManus and Vice Chairman Hogan,

I am writing to ask the Maryland State Board of Elections to review the activities and
reports of Empower Montgomery lnc. and Friends of David Blair to determine whether
or not these two entities have participated in prohibited coordinated communications. I

also ask that the Maryland State Board of Elections review Empower Montgomery lnc.'s
campaign finance reports and non-profit filings to ensure that the organization is in
compliance with all state laws.

Empower Montgomery lnc. represents itself as a 501(c)(a) non-profit tax-exempt
organization on its website (attachment 1). Empower Montgomery lnc. filed a
statement of organization as a participating organizations committee (attachment 2)
with the Maryland State Board of Elections on June 13,2OI8.

On June L5,2018, Bethesda Magazine reported (attachment 3) that Empower
Montgomery lnc. issued a "voter guide" (attachment 4) that rated select candidates for
county office according to the organization's analysis of the candidates' positions on the
organization's priority issues. ln its "voter guide" Empower Montgomery lnc. promoted
certain candidates by issuing them high ratings and highlighting their names in green.
The organization discouraged voters from supporting other candidates by giving them
low, or even negative, ratings and highlighting their names in red.

On June L3,20L8, Empower Montgomery lnc. reported $49,256.53 in mail and postage
expenditures (attachment 5). That was the same day Empower Montgomery lnc. filed
its statement of organization.

David Blair is listed as one of the candidates in the "voter guide." Empower
Montgomery lnc. issued David Blair a rating of "9" - the second highest among County
Executive candidates - and highlighted his name in green, indicating to voters that
Empower Montgomery lnc. favored Blair and that he met the group's requirements for
"candidates who embrace a dynamic, forward-looking approach to government!"
ln an October 28, 20L6, mailing to Montgomery County voters (attachment 6) David
Blair is listed as one of three "Empower Montgomery Co-Founders." A November t2,
2O!7, Bethesda Magazine report (attachment 7) stated that David Blair was listed on
Empower Montgomery lnc.'s website as one of its founders. A post on the blog
theseventhstate.com (attachment 8) two days later noted that David Blair's name had
been removed from Empower Montgomery lnc.'s website "as one of the founders of
the group."

Maryland campaign finance law states that one definition of a "coordinated spender" is
"an individual, a partnership, a political committee, an association, a corporation, a
labor organization, and any other organization or group of persons" that "was directly or
indirectly formed or established by or at the request or suggestion of, or with the
encouragement ol the candidate or political party that is the beneficiary of the
disbursement, including during the time before the individual became a candidate"
during the election cycle (attachment 9).

Considering David Blair's role as a co-founder of Empower Montgomery lnc., the
organization's expenditures and communications to promote his candidacy appear to
meet the standard for the organization being considered a "coordinated spender." I ask
that you and the State Board of Elections review my complaint as quickly as possible,
given the fact that early voting has already started and Primary Election Day is one week
from today.

Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Sincerely,

Brian H. Kildee
2829 Sacks St. MH201-
Silver Spring, Md. 20910

Attachments