O’mal­ley en­dorses Gara­gi­ola in House race

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY DAVID HILL

AN­NAPO­LIS | State Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Robert J. Gara­gi­ola is in the fight of his po­lit­i­cal life as he seeks the state’s 6th Dis­trict con­gres­sional seat, but he re­ceived an en­dorse­ment Thurs­day that he hopes will put him over the top in ad­vance of Tues­day’s Demo­cratic pri­mary.

Gov. Martin O’mal­ley threw his sup­port be­hind Mr. Gara­gi­ola on Thurs­day, telling sup­port­ers that the 39-yearold se­na­tor is the best Demo­crat to chal­lenge likely Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee and in­cum­bent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett in Novem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

“He has al­ready been an ex­tremely ef­fec­tive state se­na­tor,” said Mr. O’mal­ley, a Demo­crat. “He is a per­son that his col­leagues trust and that they turn to for lead­er­ship time and time again.”

Mr. Gara­gi­ola was con­sid­ered a vir­tual lock for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion last fall, when the Gen­eral Assem­bly ap­proved a new con­gres­sional map that crit­ics ar­gued was tai­lor-made for him to chal­lenge the 85-year-old Mr. Bartlett, who has been in of­fice since 1993.

for the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions, said the board re­ferred the case to prose­cu­tors af­ter BIZPAC failed to file re­ports as re­quired by state elec­tion law.

“The state pros­e­cu­tor is our en­force­ment agency, and once they get the case they have com­plete carte blanche over its en­tire dis­po­si­tion at that point,” he said.

James Cabezas, chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the state pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice, while not com­ment­ing on Mr. Bazilio’s case specif­i­cally, said such cases typ­i­cally are filed against the trea­surer or per­son legally re­spon­si­ble for a cam­paign com­mit­tee.

“If re­ports aren’t filed timely, the Mary­land Board of Elec­tions starts send­ing out no­tices say­ing you have to file,” he said. “If they still don’t meet the re­quire­ments, the case gets re­ferred to us, and we try to get them to file. If they’re still un­re­spon­sive, then we file crim­i­nal charges.”

At that point, Mr. Cabezas said, most cam­paign of­fi­cials file the re­ports and pay fines and the case is dropped, which is what ap­pears to have hap­pened in Mr. Bazilio’s case, ac­cord­ing to court records.

But ac­cord­ing to on­line records from an ear­lier case, it wasn’t the first time Mr. Bazilio found him­self in le­gal trou­ble over cam­paign fi­nance is­sues.

The State Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice filed an­other fail­ure-to-file cam­paign fi­nance re­port case against Mr. Bazilio in 2005, and the out­come ap­pears the same. Court records in that case list an ad­dress for Mr. Bazilio in Washington, while the more-re­cent case lists an ad­dress in Bowie.

It’s un­clear whether the ear­lier case stemmed from Mr. Bazilio’s role as trea­surer of BIZPAC, which de­spite the years of reg­u­la­tory prob­lems seems to have done lit­tle fundrais­ing or do­nat­ing to politi­cians. Both cases ended when prose­cu­tors filed a “nolle pros­e­qui” mo­tion, which means they de­cided not to pro­ceed.

AN­DREW HARNIK/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Mem­bers of the me­dia film Mary­land Gov. Martin O’mal­ley as he casts his bal­lot dur­ing early vot­ing in the pri­mary at his precinct at the Public Safety Train­ing Fa­cil­ity in Bal­ti­more on Thurs­day. Early vot­ing for the Mary­land pri­mary be­gan on Satur­day and ended on Thurs­day.

Gara­gi­ola

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