Police Union Cash Stokes Pro-Almond Super PAC in Baltimore County

A Super PAC supporting Vicki L. Almond’s bid for Baltimore County executive has dumped $10,000 into online advertising, after picking up $3,000 from a county police union’s political action committee, a new campaign finance report shows.


On Wednesday, Baltimore County Votes PAC, the super PAC, completed a wire transfer of $10,000 to Screen Strategies Media of Fairfax, Va., for web advertising, according to an amended finance report filed Saturday with the Maryland State Board of Elections.


 Cole B. Weston, president of the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 

Under Maryland law, certain types of political action committees must file an amendment to campaign finance reports within 48 hours of spending $10,000 or more. Baltimore County Votes, an independent expenditure political action committee, is one of those PACs.


On Tuesday, the political action committee for the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge No. 4, transferred the money to the Baltimore County Votes PAC. The police union endorsed Almond earlier this year.


Unlike traditional political action committees, Super PACs may accept unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals, but those entities are considered “independent expenditure” committees, meaning their activities cannot be coordinated with any candidate’s campaign committee.


So far, Baltimore County Votes PAC has taken in $45,100, including the FOP transfer and another $12,000 from the Maryland State Education Association.


Developers contributed $30,000 to Baltimore County Votes PAC, including $18,000 from Caves Valley Partners, a politically well-connected Towson-based concern, and limited liability companies (LLCs) controlled by the firm.


Paperwork creating the Baltimore County Votes was filed at the State Board of Elections in Annapolis on May 17, two days after an earlier campaign finance reporting deadline.


Kathleen M. Bustraan, a Towson lawyer, chairs the committee, and Jodi L. Schwartz is treasurer. Bustraan, secretary of the Towson-based Central Baltimore County Democratic Club (CBCDC), contributed $100 to the Super PAC, reports showed.


Both of Almond’s opponents in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive, James Brochin and John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr., have criticized the county councilwoman’s coziness with developers, as well as the county’s reputation for “pay-to-play” politics that cater to special interests.

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William F. Zorzi
Bill Zorzi was a Baltimore Sun reporter and editor for nearly 20 years, focusing on government and politics. An Annapolis bureau veteran, he wrote a weekly column, “The Political Game” for the paper.Zorzi and another former Sun reporter, David Simon, are longtime collaborators on acclaimed television projects, including the HBO series, “The Wire,” and the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which dealt with an explosive housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY.


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