Schoenke has political football to toss around Ethics: The former Redskins player, soon-to-be candidate for governor, has fired verbal cannons and has plenty of ammunition for a Democratic campaign.

The Political Game

Campaign 1998

January 20, 1998|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

RAYMOND SCHOENKE -- the one-time Redskins footballer and about-to-be Democratic primary candidate for governor -- showed up in Annapolis on Friday with a pungent foretaste of his campaign's main course.

"This," he declared, referring to the Senate's expulsion of state Sen. Larry Young, "is what's wrong with Maryland politics -- too much money chasing politicians."

An event of such magnitude, he said, is lamentable for the people -- but made to order for a candidate, a campaign platform unto itself, a high podium from which to urge an overhaul.

The system harbors many offenders, he said, echoing much of the criticism now heaped upon the General Assembly, politicians and businesses that try to influence policy-making with money.

Though he will not be an officially declared candidate until a news conference scheduled for today in Annapolis, Schoenke was manning the verbal cannons: A special prosecutor should be appointed, he said, to examine the fund-raising efforts of Young's most highly placed political ally and the man Schoenke hopes to unseat, Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

A request for comment from the governor's campaign went unanswered.

Young and Glendening, close political allies until recently at least, are linked by erstwhile relationships with Merit Behavioral Health Corp., a New Jersey-based company that employed Young and threw a fund-raiser for Glendening that Young attended.

The governor traveled to New York on a Merit jet without knowing, he said later, that Merit was pursuing a health care contract in Maryland. Merit did not win the contract -- but later bought the company that did win. Glendening returned the campaign money he received through Merit plus the cost of the embarrassing flight.

Asked if he would favor government financing of campaigns to get private money out of the game, Schoenke smiled and said, in effect, stay tuned.

Changing the guard with Senate secretary

The tension created by Young's dramatic opening-day appearance obscured the installation of William B. C. Addison Jr. as the Senate secretary.

Addison formally replaced a virtually permanent presence in the State House, Oden Bowie -- the virtually invisible, highly efficient secretary of the Senate since 1969. Bowie's grandfather, whose name was also Oden Bowie, served as Maryland's governor from 1869 to 1872.

Addison's parents, Mary and Bill Addison of Bowie, were in the gallery to see their 46-year-old son sworn in by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. Addison, who has been a part of Oden Bowie's nine-member staff since 1977, takes over responsibility for that body's voluminous and hectic day-to-day business.

For lobbyist, it's the thought that counts

Lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano, who likes to give the Assembly one day a session without his compelling imprecations, makes it a practice to stay away from the Assembly's opening day.

He continued that practice this year but, also, continued to shower legislators with tokens of his affection. Restricted by recent laws designed to limit gift giving, Bereano sent each male legislator an empty cigar box. Women got actual cigars -- the chocolate variety. In past years, Bereano spent $4,000 on opening day for flowers alone. No more.

Once the Tobacco Institute's chief lobbyist in Annapolis, Bereano still represents candy interests and the vending machine industry.

Legislators are fond of saying they can't be bought for a lobbyist lunch and, in recent years, they've sometimes declined even to be seen with these representatives of corporate Maryland. Bereano knows that personal relationships -- not presents -- are the name of the lobbying game. It's not the gift that matters. It's the thought.

Another type of battlefield

On a day when legislators are normally satisfied to wish each other Happy New Year and to comment on how good they all look ("Lost some weight, haven't you?"), Miller referred repeatedly to Baltimore Democratic Sen. Clarence W. Blount's battlefield commission during World War II -- as if the session that lies ahead would demand that sort of experience.

Remembering Cade, a man of ethics

At a time of trial for the Assembly in general and the Senate in particular, Miller sought inspiration from an old friend, the late Jack Cade, a Republican senator from Anne Arundel County.

Cade, who died last year, was a master of budgets and a thundering tribune of ethical behavior. Miller told the senators he had recently visited Cade's grave in a South Carolina cemetery. Every senator, Miller said, should strive to deserve the tribute etched on Cade's headstone": "A valued member of the Maryland Senate."

A new delegate from Prince George's

Democrat Brian R. Moe, a 35-year-old firefighter from West Laurel, is the newest member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Moe was sworn in yesterday by House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. to represent the 21st Legislative District in Prince George's County, taking the place of James C. Rosapepe, who resigned to become U.S. ambassador to Romania.

Pub Date: 1/20/98

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