Campaign Notes

June 15, 1998

U.S. Senate hopeful Kenneth L. Wayman is seeking to draw a connection between campaign contributions that have flowed into his Democratic rival's coffers and a scandal involving an alleged technology transfer to China.

Wayman, one of several Republicans hoping to unseat Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, pointed to Federal Election Commission reports showing that Mikulski has received more than $15,000 in donations over the last seven years from two companies and an executive who have been linked to the allegations.

The companies, Loral Aerospace Corp. and Hughes Electric Corp., have been accused of selling sensitive missile technology to the Chinese government.

Loral's political action committee, Spacecom Civic Responsibility Fund, has given Mikulski $4,850 since 1993, according to the FEC. The Hughes PAC, Active Citizenship Fund, has given the senator $8,000 since 1991.


In addition, Loral CEO Bernard Schwarz and his wife, Jodi, contributed $3,000 to Mikulski's campaign in 1997.

Wayman said 92 witnesses have either taken the Fifth Amendment or fled the country.

"What do they know that we need to know about our national security?" Wayman said. "How badly compromised is the security of this country?"

Mikulski campaign manager Ann R. Beser said it is wrong to jump to conclusions about the matter, which is still under investigation.

"We did, indeed, take money from Loral, Hughes and Bernard Schwartz," she said.

But she added: "Nothing's been proven. It's all rumor and innuendo."

Beser noted that other members of Congress, including Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., have also taken campaign contributions from the companies. She said the firms provide jobs for about 2,400 Maryland residents.

But Wayman said the contributions are inappropriate, given the seriousness of the charges. He called for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the matter.

"It's a bit bigger than a campaign issue," he said. "I don't think we know how badly we've been compromised. I'm concerned we need to find out the truth."

Beser said the incident highlights deficiencies in the system of financing elections, not Mikulski's integrity.

"It just proves once again that we really do need campaign finance reform," she said.

Glendening to visit Hagerstown

Basking in the afterglow of William Donald Schaefer's endorsement, Gov. Parris N. Glendening will embark on a three-day campaign swing that will include Hagerstown.

Glendening, who is trying to fend off a vigorous challenge from within his own Democratic Party, got the backing of former governor Schaefer last week.

Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will formally announce his re-election bid in College Park, Md., on Tuesday.

The governor and lieutenant governor will visit Hub Labels in Hagerstown on Wednesday to highlight his commitment to job creation.

The site of the 8:45 a.m. event was selected because Hub Labels has received business and job creation incentives from the Glendening administration, according to his aides.

For Glendening, who attended a birthday bash in his honor at the Grille at Park Circle on June 7, the trip will be his second to the Hub City in 10 days.

An environmental advocacy group has provided fresh fodder for the fall campaign.

Legislators rated

The Maryland Public Interest Research Group released its annual scorecard of members of Congress last month.

The group, which traditionally rates Bartlett low on environmental issues, gave the Western Maryland legislator a 13 percent, the lowest in the delegation.

Mikulski scored an 88 percent. Fellow Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who is not up for re-election, also got an 88 percent.

MaryPIRG rated legislators on their votes on a number of environmental issues, like efforts to roll back the nation's Superfund law.

McGuire opposes flag burning

While fellow challengers Eileen M. Rehrmann and Ray Schoenke have received most of the attention in their bid to unseat Glendening, Democrat Terry McGuire threw his two-cents worth into debate on flag burning.

McGuire said he stands firmly behind efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning the desecration of the American flag.

-Brendan Kirby

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