MJC President Cleared in Probe of Campaign Contributions

Joe DeFrancis, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, and Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. did not violate campaign finance laws by arranging more than $200,000 in donations to a national organization headed by Miller, Maryland's state prosecutor said Monday.

The conclusion was reached after a six-month investigation by prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, the Washington Post reports. Montanarelli did say, however, it was possible the pair had "colluded" to evade Maryland's campaign finance limits prior to the 2002 elections but it could not be confirmed because of a lack of cooperation from Miller's staff.

A separate inquiry into $225,000 in campaign contributions DeFrancis made in three installments in 2002 and early 2003 is ongoing by the FBI. Federal agents are checking whether the contributions were made to garner support for gambling legislation in the Maryland General Assembly, the Post reports.

Montanarelli's investigation was limited to only if the contributions violated campaign finance limits.

"I cannot find any crime," Montanarelli said. "There was no evidence that there was any collusion on their part."

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