Incumbents' use of newsletter assailed

August 10, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

Three Republican candidates for the state House of Delegates in District 31 have criticized the Democratic incumbents for using tax money to finance a constituent newsletter.

Doug Arnold of Chesterfield said the newsletter, sent to 17,000 households, amounts to "little more than campaign propaganda."

He and his running mates -- Dave Blanch of Pasadena and Vickie Schade of Cedarwood Cove -- have called upon the Democratic incumbents to reimburse the state. They said the newsletter should have been financed with campaign contributions.

District 31 includes Brooklyn Park, Riviera Beach and Pasadena.

The newsletter, titled the Annapolis Report, included photos of Sen. Philip C. Jimeno of Brooklyn Park and delegates Joan Cadden of Brooklyn Park, W. Ray Huff of Pasadena and C. Stokes Kolodziejski of Carvel Beach.

It also contained summaries of laws passed by the General Assembly during the winter session.

The printing and mailing cost $3,350, which was paid from the lawmakers' expense accounts. The newsletter was written by the state Department of Legislative Services, which also prepared summaries for Democrats and Republicans in 10 other districts.

Voters in District 32, which includes Linthicum and Glen Burnie, received the Annapolis Report from the Democratic incumbents there.

"This is another example of the perks that legislators get no matter what party they are from," said Ms. Schade, adding that she opposes the mailings sent out by congressional representatives as well.

Mr. Arnold said, "It's the promotion of the individual [lawmakers]. It should be paid for with campaign money, not tax dollars."

Ms. Schade and Mr. Arnold said they would not spend tax money on newsletters. "That's what newspapers are for," she said.

Mr. Jimeno said the Republicans have "a legitimate complaint" as long as the District 31 Democrats are not singled out.

This was the first year Mr. Jimeno ever mailed the Annapolis Report. Not so for Sen. Howard Denis, a Montgomery County Republican.

"I do this every year that there is money in the budget to do it," said Mr. Denis, who is running for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial candidate Helen Delich Bentley. "I think it's completely nonpartisan, and I think communicating with constituents in this way is important."

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