Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot blasted his former colleagues in the General Assembly on Wednesday for conducting a “secretive” special session on gambling last month that he said was a “blatant subversion of our founding principles.”
Franchot, who is angling to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, offered his assessment during an appearance at Goucher College’s “Constitution Day.”
In the speech, the text of which was released by his office, Franchot also called for moving to a “real-time” system of disclosing campaign contributions, which he said could “start to make it clear to citizens where and how money is flowing in this system.”
Franchot, a former delegate from Montgomery County, said he was “disgusted” by the closed-door negotiations that took place during the special session, in which the Democratic-led legislature authorized a new casino in Prince George’s County and Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five previously authorized slots locations.
Voters will get the final say on the plan in November.
“Sometimes, it’s no exaggeration to say that our system is under attack,” Franchot said. “It has been hijacked, in this case by out-of-state gambling interests, by billionaire casino owners and conglomerates who will benefit from sweetheart deals negotiated behind closed doors. I watched, yet again, the corrupting and corrosive influence of big money in the political process.”
Franchot suggested that if citizens had access to more rapid campaign finance disclosures — as they do in Colorado — the outcome of the special session could have been different.
He cited banking-sector technology as evidence that such a system could be utilized in Maryland.