OCEAN CITY — A day after Mayor Jay Gillian was accused of accepting a campaign donation in excess of the individual contribution limit, no amended report had been posted online by the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
However, a candidate’s willingness to admit a mistake in filing a report generally bodes well for the individual, Deputy Director Joseph Donohue said Friday.
In his 11-day pre-election report, which was made public Thursday, Gillian reported a $10,000 donation from his father, former Mayor Roy Gillian, as a contribution. He said Thursday that the money had been intended as a loan and that he had corrected the mistake by filing an amended report with ELEC and by writing his father a check for the full amount.
ELEC stipulates that the amount in excess of the $2,600 individual contribution limit be returned within 48 hours of its receipt. Gillian would have had to return the money by April 24, two days after its receipt on April 22.
“There is no way to correct a violation,” Donohue said Friday. “Correcting it doesn’t eliminate it. But is it a major violation? Generally speaking, no.”
Donohue said he could not address the Ocean City situation directly but could speak in general terms.
“The main purpose of our law is disclosure,” he said. “In a case where a candidate discloses a violation and fixes the problem, at least there has been disclosure and the public knows about it.
“When a candidate reports a contribution, he’s not trying to hide it. We’re not going to go after someone like that. We’re looking for the ones who try to hide it and thumb their noses at the law. By reporting the contribution, it actually shows the candidate is honest.”
Contact Cindy Nevitt: