Letter supporting Brock called 'racist'

August 26, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

U.S. Senate candidate Ruthann Aron denounced as "extortionist" and "racist" yesterday a letter that the head of the Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association sent in support of her opponent, Bill Brock.

Robert C. Schaeffer, who two years ago led the successful fight to impose a property tax cap on county government, sent the letter urging all Republican candidates in Anne Arundel County to actively support Mr. Brock.

Mr. Schaeffer suggested they put Brock stickers on their yard signs or a Brock sign alongside their own.

"I feel so strongly about this, that I can tell you unequivocally that any Taxpayer Association support which I can personally influence for any Republican candidate in this county is contingent upon that candidate's active support of Brock," Mr. Schaeffer wrote on stationery with the association's letterhead.

The letter closes by stating that Mr. Brock is the Republican candidate with the best chance of ousting incumbent Sen. Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat.

"Anne Arundel County is the one county, with a large enough turn-out and an unified vote, which can counter the automatic opposition vote of the underclass in Baltimore and the D.C. suburbs," Mr. Schaeffer wrote.

Ms. Aron denounced the letter as "disgusting."

"Bill Brock should be ashamed, embarrassed and owes all the citizens of Maryland an apology for the racial and extortionist statements made by one of his supporters, Robert C. Schaeffer," her statement said. "Racism and extortion have no place in American politics or in Maryland."

"I think it is an unfortunate use of language in the letter," said M. J. Jameson, a Brock campaign spokeswoman.

"But I would point out to you, this is Mr. Schaeffer's language, Mr. Schaeffer's letter and Mr. Schaeffer's mailing."

None of the Republican candidates contacted yesterday had received the letter.

Lance Copsey, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said the letter's tone, particularly the last sentence, might be a problem.

"It's not something that I would write," he said. "But I think the intent is not troubling. Mr. Schaeffer defended the letter, saying he was speaking only for himself and not for the taxpayers association. He bristled at the suggestion that the letter was racist. "All the big cities have an underclass. Everybody knows what it is. Everybody knows it's unified and it votes Democratic. There's nothing racist about that," he said.

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