Brown’s Unpaid $500K Loan Could Get Pretty Awkward

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Brown fails to pay back loan
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

In the home stretch of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s ultimately failed gubernatorial campaign, the candidate borrow $500,000 from the Laborers International Union. It came due Nov. 7, but the Baltimore Sun reports that Brown still hasn’t made a payment on it. And that creates a pretty awkward situation.

In Maryland, donations to a particular campaign are capped at $4,000 for individuals and businesses and at $6,000 for political action committees. But there is no limit to how much money a campaign can borrow as long as it’s personally guaranteed by the candidate, as Brown’s $500,000 loan is.

Already, the union has the right to more than double the interest rate and impose a five-percent late charge under the terms of the loan agreement. That’s something I’m assuming they’re not eager to do against a politician they supported. But if the balance is still unpaid at the end of 2018, the loan is considered a donation and the lender — i.e., the Laborers Union — is hit with a violation.

But how likely is it that Brown would actually let the loan go that long? It’s unclear. Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, said that Brown’s apparent fundraising difficulties — that necessitated the loan in the first place — could only be worse after the election. “If you lose, it becomes really tricky to pay it off,” she said.

University of Maryland public policy department chairman Donald F. Norris disagrees, believing that Brown’s party will come to his rescue. “The Democratic establishment was strongly behind Anthony Brown and I can’t imagine a scenario where they would toss him to the wolves,” he said.


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