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Politicsby Fern Shen and Mark Reutter12:59 pmJan 9, 20170

Pugh aide Gary Brown Jr. charged with illegal contributions to her campaign

Brown had just been nominated to fill a vacancy representing the 40th District in the Maryland legislature

Above: Former aide to then-senator Catherine Pugh, Gary Brown Jr., from his Democratic Central Committee Facebook page.

Days away from being sworn in as a new member of the Maryland General Assembly, a former campaign aide to Mayor Catherine Pugh, Gary Brown Jr., was indicted for election law violations “stemming from alleged illegal contributions” to her campaign committee.

Brown, a member of the city Democratic Central Committee – which recently nominated him to a position as a District 40 state delegate – was indicted Friday, State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt disclosed today.

Brown, who served as Pugh’s legislative aide in Annapolis, could not be reached for comment.

“Bundled” Contributions

According to documents on file with the court, Brown made contributions to “The Committee to Elect Catherine E. Pugh” between January 13, 2016 and April 9, 2016, while working for the campaign.

“He deposited cash into the bank accounts of his mother, stepfather and brother and then immediately contributed the money in the names of his mother, stepfather and brother to the Pugh campaign,” according to a release from the State Prosecutor’s office today.

According to the indictment, Brown illegally “bundled” the contributions. The maximum amount an individual is permitted to contribute under state law is $6,000.

Brown faces five counts of contributing to a political campaign in other than his own name and one count of making contributions in excess of the $6,000 state maximum.

Noting that a defendant is presumed innocent until there is a conviction, Davitt commented on the seriousness of the charges Brown faces.

“Election laws are in place to maintain the integrity of the electoral process and foster transparency in the regulation of campaign contributions,” he said. “Illegal straw contributions in names other than one’s own to evade such laws cannot be tolerated.”

Brown was scheduled to be sworn in as a state delegate representing West Baltimore’s 40th District on Tuesday. House Speaker Michael Busch said today that ceremony is canceled.

The House of Delegates vacancy Brown was set to fill had been created when the committee nominated Delegate Barbara Robinson to fill Pugh’s 40th District senate seat.

Pugh Statement on Indictment

UPDATE: Pugh’s director of public affairs, Anthony W. McCarthy, has issued the following statement on her behalf:

“I am saddened by the allegations and just learned about the charges along with the public. Still, Mr. Brown is presumed innocent while the investigations continue. It would be inappropriate to provide any further comments.”

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