ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Two Republican candidates in Maryland’s GOP primary for governor filed a complaint Wednesday about an opponent’s use of a political group in his campaign. The candidate’s campaign said the complaint was “utterly absurd.”

Del. Ron George and Harford County Executive David Craig said they believe Larry Hogan’s use of assets from the political group called Change Maryland are violations of campaign finance rules.

They say the group has existed since May 2011 to promote Hogan and accept donations at a time when no one knew Hogan would be a candidate for governor. They say the group acted as a media outlet to promote Hogan without complying with finance rules that would apply to a campaign.

“This is not a matter of Larry Hogan getting around campaign finance laws. This is a direct violation of the existing laws right now,” George said at a news conference with Craig in Annapolis.

Hogan responded that his campaign sought guidance from the Maryland State Board of Elections on whether or how Change Maryland could interface with a campaign for governor. The campaign said it was advised it could buy the assets of the organization, much like campaigns purchase mailing or contact lists from any other organization. Before registering to run in the primary in February, the campaign entered into a purchase agreement for all of Change Maryland’s assets, the campaign said.

“The entire premise of these allegations by two desperate campaigns is utterly absurd and patently false,” Hogan’s campaign said in a statement.

But Craig and George asked for a quick response from the board. For one thing, Maryland’s primary is June 24. They also said that if Hogan wins the primary, questions about Change Maryland could affect the chances of the Republican Party’s nominee in the general election.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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