Mud slung anew in bitter 6th District campaign

October 21, 1992|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Staff Writer

A few minutes into a debate between 6th District

congressional candidates taped yesterday at Maryland Public Television, Roscoe Bartlett, the GOP contender, launched the latest attack in what has become an increasingly bitter campaign.

On the fourth question, an inquiry about meeting the basic human needs of poor people, Mr. Bartlett brought up charges he originally made in a news conference Monday afternoon. He claims Tom Hattery, the state delegate from Frederick County who defeated incumbent Beverly Byron in the Democratic primary, failed to pay workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees of his family's publishing firm, Lomond Publishing Company.

"You know, I think one of the basic human needs is protection in the workplace and I need to ask my opponent why he has been running a business for two years now with no workers' compensation insurance for his employees," Mr. Bartlett said.

"Well, that's easy to answer," replied Mr. Hattery, who had asked that the debate stay on the issues. "It's just simply inaccurate. It's just simply wrong. I wish that, as I laid down a challenge at the beginning, that we could keep off of the personal attacks and onto the issues that are of concern to the public."

Mr. Bartlett then produced documentation he said proved his charge.

"That won't show up terribly well on TV," said moderator Jeff Salkin. "Let me move on to our next topic."

"I really do need to answer that," Mr. Hattery said. He claimed the documents were "privileged information" available only to insurance agents. "They plugged in the wrong policy numbers," he said. "If they had plugged in the right ones, they would have found that we are covered and have been covered. So once again Mr. Bartlett is simply wrong."

Though Mr. Salkin moved on to a question about crime, which Mr. Hattery answered, Mr. Bartlett used his next opening to renew his charge. "By the way, his first response was that there was some confusion around his father's death and it was an oversight that has been corrected," Mr. Bartlett. "Now he says that there was not an oversight."

After the debate, which will air Tuesday on MPT, Mr. Hattery explained that he was first told about the workers' compensation charges while on the road between engagements.

When told of the date of the apparent lapse, he realized it was just after the deaths of his father in an automobile accident and, a few months later, his mother. "I thought perhaps it had fallen through the cracks at that time," he said. "But when I got ( (TC chance to go back and check the records, I realized that was not the case, we were insured."

Jim Lafferty, spokesman for the Bartlett campaign, said the information about the insurance came from the state Workmen's Workers' Compensation Commission.

In an earlier interview, Mr. Hattery said his father started the publishing business. This latest charge joins a long line made in this campaign, beginning with Mr. Bartlett claiming that Mr. Hattery abused his expense account in Annapolis and continuing to charges Mr. Bartlett lied about his World War II draft record and tried to avoid cleaning up contaminated water used by tenants on his farm.

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