Elected officials are elected by voting constituents to represent a district or community.  They are supposed to be the represented voice of the voters who put them there.  By allowing a torrential infusion of money, especially from one particular industry, the voices of the community are lost & only the voices of the donors become important.  In order for the power to be given back to the people (where it belongs in a democracy), Howard County MUST get oversized special interest money out of politics.

“Dark Money” in political campaigns is money whose source cannot be ascertained for various reasons, one of which being lack of legal requirements for public reporting of such campaign funds.

Real-estate developers are neither bad nor good. They are business entities with a profit motive. Unfortunately, these entities enjoy an outsized influence in county politics. As a result, not only do they benefit from extremely favorable land-use and zoning decisions, they are also involved in helping write the laws that facilitate these decisions. Reducing or eliminating this influence benefits all members of our community including the real-estate developers through equitable allocation of resources.

Per the pledge, if a candidate receives campaign contributions from the prohibited entities knowingly or otherwise, the Pledge Sponsors will work with that candidate to remedy the situation by giving the candidate a chance to return the prohibited contribution. If the contribution is returned no further action is taken.

The Pledge Sponsors are concerned with the outsized influence of individuals and entities with the most to gain from a corrupt system. This is why candidates are prohibited from receiving contributions from Principals of real estate entities no matter how small. Candidates are also prohibited from receiving contributions from law firms representing those real estate development entities including employees of those law firms. While rank-and-file employees of real estate development entities are not prohibited, Pledge Sponsors will alert the candidate if there is an appearance of a coordinated effort to support the candidate by a real estate development entity through its employees.

To be considered eligible to sign on as a Pledge Champion, candidates can not have received any donations from the prohibited entities listed in the Pledge during the current 4 year election cycle, which will be verified by going through finance reports for candidates for the years 2019 and onwards – candidates who want to sign the Pledge MUST share these finance reports with us in order for verification to take place, and candidates who’ve already signed on must share any completed & available (whether public yet or not) campaign finance reports with the Pledge Co-Sponsors within 2 weeks, if requested.  If any donations from prohibited entities are found in campaign finance reports from the current 4 year election cycle either during the vetting process of a candidate requesting to sign on, or after a candidate has already signed onto the Pledge, the candidate will be informed of the prohibited donation, will have an opportunity to discuss the donation(s) with the Co-Sponsors and will be given 2 weeks to refund such contribution(s) before they are denied as a Pledge Champion.