Prosecutor scrutinizes fund-raiser for Bentley CAMPAIGN 1994

July 02, 1994|By From Staff Reports

Responding to a complaint, the office of the state prosecutor has begun an inquiry to determine if a fund-raising event on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Helen Delich Bentley violated state election laws.

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli said such inquiries are routine after a complaint is received and that the purpose is to determine if a criminal investigation should be launched. He would not say who filed the complaint.

He acknowledged that it involved a $50-a-person Bentley fund-raiser staged June 20 in connection with a sports talk show broadcast live on radio station WCBM from McCafferty's, a Baltimore restaurant.

Mrs. Bentley said Thursday that she was aware of the inquiry, adding, "There certainly was no intention of anybody doing anything wrong."

An unsigned copy of a three-page letter sent to Mr. Montanarelli also was sent to The Sun. The letter raises a number of questions concerning the event, including who paid for advertisements in The Sun and who paid for the broadcast air time.

The letter also questions whether the use of the names of sports personalities in the advertisements, such as that of Baltimore Colts great John Unitas, might have left a false impression that those celebrities were endorsing Mrs. Bentley.

Similarly, it questions whether advertising for the event, which // failed to mention that proceeds would go to the Bentley campaign, might have deceived the public.

"We're simply making inquiries to see if there have been any violations," Mr. Montanarelli said. "It is not a criminal investigation at this time."

Carey urges postersof deadbeat parents

If Eleanor M. Carey becomes Maryland's next attorney general, deadbeat parents could see their faces on "wanted" posters in grocery stores and other public places statewide.

Ms. Carey this week recommended using posters to help locate parents who don't pay child support. Based on a successful program in Iowa, the posters would include a toll-free number for people to call and give the whereabouts of recalcitrant fathers and mothers. Ms. Carey said the state could obtain photos from spouses or high school yearbooks.

A former deputy attorney general, Ms. Carey is running against the incumbent, J. Joseph Curran Jr., for the Democratic nomination Sept. 13.

As attorney general, Ms. Carey says she also would lobby for laws allowing the state to suspend driver's licenses as well as the licenses of lawyers, doctors and other professionals who don't pay child support. Maryland legislators have repeatedly rejected similar proposals.

Officials with the Iowa attorney general's office say their state is one of about 10, including Florida and Maine, that have used such posters in child support cases.

Maryland for several years has sent out a "10 most wanted list" of deadbeat parents to the news media, though without photos.

Regarding his opponent's proposals on child support, Mr. Curran said: "I thank Mrs. Carey for recognizing, as I did a long time ago, that it is an important issue."

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