Friends for Charter of Cecil County, the group running a campaign to convince people to “vote yes for change in county government” has filed a financial report with the Maryland Board of Elections. The organization shows contributions valued at $14,498, consisting of $11,970 in cash and $2,525 from in-kind contributions.
Of the $11,970 in direct cash, there were two sources of revenue, money given to the committee ($10,510 from 31 sources) and ticket purchases ($1,460 from 28 sources). The ticket sales, the “Schneckenburger Fundraiser,” was the other category. Twenty-eight (28) tickets were sold raising $1,460. The largest amount was $160 and the smallest was $5.
One area of particular interest is the “See Cecil Bus Tour.” The Office of Economic Development arranged for the group trying to influence voters on the ballot question to escort visitors around the county and the undertaking made a profit to aid the campaign. The state report lists $2,700 as contributions for the visit. An earlier spreadsheet from the Friends indicated $8,900 in cash receipts for the “See Cecil Bus Trip” and receipts after expenses of $6,787. There were outlays of $940 for the bus and $1,173 for a luncheon, according to the earlier document.
Donation of goods and services in lieu of cash are listed as in-kind. The Connections Marketing Group, the publisher of the Cecil Guardian, donated $875 in advertising space in the weekly newspaper while Columbia Bank paid for billboard rental space valued at 1,200.
Larger corporate donations are largely underwriting the campaign. Of the $10,510 listed by the committee as cash contributions, 81% came from seven corporations, which included one local financial institution (Cecil Bank) and one construction company (REM Construction Group) with a county address. The other five larger donors were developers with addresses outside the county. Beyond that cash contributions came from 28 small donations, ranging from $5 to a high of $200.
The following are the source of donations over $250.
REM Construction Group, Rising Sun, MD. – $1,500.
Cecil Bank, Elkton, MD. $1,000 (Bus tour)
Clark Turner Signature Homes, Belcamp, MD $1,000
Gemcraft Homes, Forest Hill, MD. $1,000
Ryan Homes, Reston, VA. $1,000
Lin-Mar Development Corp, Fallston, MD. $1,500
Richmond American Homes, Columbia, MD $1,500
The state required financial report and stories published elsewhere raised more questions and we are seeking answers. First, we’d like to reconcile the two different reports related to expenses and income on the bus trip. In addition, other published reports raise questions about the connection between county government and the advocacy group, so we’re still working on this story. Look for updates as more information becomes available.
Click here to review the detailed state report, including a list of all contributors.