Maryland’s state prosecutor has fined the campaign of former gubernatorial candidate John B. King Jr. $2,000 for sending campaign material out over email without the required campaign authority line.

The investigation dates back to the 2022 Democratic primary for governor, when King was among several Democrats vying for the nomination that was ultimately won by now-Gov. Wes Moore.

Moore’s campaign filed a complaint with the state alleging that King’s campaign inappropriately used an anonymous email account — — to circulate opposition research that was critical of Moore to members of the state teachers union.

The email included a 12-page document titled “Wes Moore Research Update: Fraudulent Story and Falsified Book.” The document scrutinized Moore’s life story in an attempt to discredit his Baltimore roots.

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Maryland law requires campaign materials to carry an authority line, which was not present on the messages sent from that account.

The campaign of King and his running mate Michelle Siri denied the allegations at the time.

“The King-Siri campaign did not authorize the dissemination of the document at the center of this complaint by the Moore campaign, nor does the King-Siri campaign know who is behind it,” a campaign statement from spring 2022 read.

It continued: “The items alleged in the documents do raise serious questions about many statements Moore has made and we hope, Mr. Moore will address these and Marylanders will take a serious look at and properly vet all the candidates in this race, as it is critical that Democrats have a candidate who can win in November.”

The Office of the State Prosecutor wrote in an affidavit that its investigators linked the email account to an IP address used by Joseph O’Hern, who was King’s campaign manager. O’Hern could not immediately be reached for comment.

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King’s campaign committee was issued a civil citation that carries a $2,000 fine. As of January, the John King for Governor campaign finance account held a little more than $6,000.

King, who finished sixth among 10 candidates in the Democratic primary, is now chancellor of the State University of New York system.

A spokesman for King said in a statement: “Chancellor King was disappointed to learn of the information contained in the affidavit. He is totally focused on his work in New York on behalf of the students in the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education.”

Moore’s campaign declined to comment.

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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