Fiduciary Responsibility

Original Post: July 9, 2022

Members of our Board of Education have a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers to protect their short-term and long-term interest in the school system. This includes the fiscal impact on educational programs as well as impact on the taxpayers. A good school board also makes sure the annual budget protects the future fiscal integrity of the district.


How does this apply to an election you may ask? Maryland state election law requires candidates to file periodic financial reports of contributions and expenses with the State Board of Elections. All these reports are public information accessible at https://elections.maryland.gov/campaign_finance. The purpose of these reports is to provide transparency and allow public trust in a candidate’s campaign. When a candidate fails to submit a required report, they are issued a fine for violation of §13-304 of the Maryland Election Law. These fines accrue daily up to $1,000. The candidate and treasurer are personally liable for the fines and the fines must be paid from the campaign account.


To date, both of my opponents in District 4 (Ann Suthowski and Robert Figliozzi) have failed to submit ANY campaign finance reports. They have both been issued a $1,000 fine for the first occurrence, their second occurrence is still accruing and is at $935 right now, and their third report was due yesterday and fines are beginning on it today.


They were not just late, but have refused after repeated reminders from the state, both via email and USPS mail, to file a report.


How can we expect a board member to be responsible with taxpayer funds when they will not even file a simple required report? If they are willing to waste donor contributions paying these fines, think of what they will be willing to waste of your tax dollars.


In this election we need to elect a representative from District 4 that complies with the law and understands their fiduciary responsibility.

 

August Update

On July 26th the State Board of Elections sent the letter below (it was also sent via email). The letter gives Ann Suthowski 30 days, or until August 25th, to file past due reports, or she will be referred to the Office of State Prosecutor (who handled election law, ethics violations, bribery, misconduct in office, or extortion, perjury, or obstruction of justice of those items) for prosecution. The letter sent outlines the penalties, which include an additional $1,000 fine and one year in jail for both Ann and her treasurer. She faces three counts of failure to submit a campaign finance report, to date.


Ann Suthowski, as of August 20, has reached $3,000 in fines for failure to submit any reports in this campaign. The State continues to email reminders and send her reminder postcards in the mail.

 

September Update

Ann Suthowski again, failed to submit her August 30 financial report. As of September 10, 2022 her outstanding fines are now $3,280, and are increasing daily towards $4,000. This $4,000 reflects her failure to submit four financial reports. The State continues to email reminders and send her reminder postcards in the mail.


 

October Update

Ann Suthowski, with $4,000 in fines, contacted the State Board of Elections and requested they waive her fines. Even though she had been receiving emails and postal mail, notifying her that she failed to submit her reports on time, and she was accruing fines, she opted to attempt to throw her Treasurer under the bus. The responsibility for filing is both Ann's and her Treasurer's. At any time Ann could have submitted the reports due.


In Ann's letter to the State board of Elections, she asked that her account be closed, however this cannot happen until she has filed her reports and paid her fines, and she is no longer running for office.


At the end of this month candidates have another campaign finance filing due, and Ann has been reminded numerous times, just as all candidates have. Will she file this time, or will she accrue another $1,000 in fines, for a total of $5,000?





 

November Update

In November, all four of Mrs. Suthowski's fines have been referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor as outlined in Maryland Election Law Section 13-335. For each count, there are four, Mrs. Suthowski faces would be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or both (per Section 13-306). Additionally, due to the outstanding reports, per Section 13-333, Mrs. Suthowski would be disqualfied from taking office.

She also failed to submit her fifth report, due October 28, 2022. She has begun to accrue fines for it.


As of today, November 6, she owes $4,210.