By Adam Pagnucco.
County Executive candidate Robin Ficker is enrolled in the county’s public financing program and has announced that he has qualified for $231,185 in public matching funds. Those funds are supposed to be used to finance his campaign for office. But his Facebook ads raise the question of whether he is also using them to promote his law practice.
Ficker has run at least three political Facebook ads from his Robin Ficker Law Offices page.
The content of the ads is unquestionably political. But the Facebook page is a mixed bag. It advertises his services as a criminal defense lawyer and has his business phone number. It also offers a combination of political content and promotion of Ficker’s legal work.
To be fair, Ficker’s ads do not advertise the legal posts. But whenever a voter sees one of his political ads, they see “Robin Ficker Law Offices” at the top.
Maryland COMAR 33.13.10.03 prohibits the use of campaign funds for “the personal use or the personal benefit of a candidate.” Montgomery County COMCOR 16.21.01.05 prohibits the use of public financing funds for “personal use.” Whether Ficker is running afoul of these regulations is a matter for the authorities. But if he wants to avoid this issue entirely, Ficker should establish a political Facebook page that is separate from his business. That’s what other candidates do and Ficker should do the same.