Democratic gubernatorial challengers Theodore G. Venetoulis and Walter S. Orlinsky yesterday strongly critized Acting Gov. Blair Lee III for following the advice of leading bankers - who helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for Lee's campaign - when he appointed the state's banking commissioner this spring.
Venetoulis reacting to published accounts bout Lee's fund-raising methods, said that Maryland's "moneyed banking community" supported Lee because he "represents the laisse faire management policies they like best."
Venetoulis, the Baltimore County executive, went on to describe the banking method's he instituted for his county's gevernment, methods he said earned the county $938,000 over the past 28 months.
Orlinsky, the Baltimore City Council president, said that Lee should heve looked beyond the banking community for advice on the appointment. Lee's fail ure to do so, Orlinsky said, "is indictive of the fact that he is just the business-as-usual Marvin Mandel child.There is nothing wrong with a banking commissioner who can look at the banks with a critical eye."
Orlinsky and Venetoulis also criticized Lee's published remarks that "It's not reasonable to go to the League of Women Voters for a recommendation on a banking commissioner." Both said it was not only reasonable but a good idea.
The fourth candidate in the Democratic primary for governor. Harry R. Hughes, said Lee's ability to mobilize bankers to raise money "shows the value of the incumbency to use the patronage to raise money.
"Obviously bankers have a right to contribute but contributions should be a little broader based so they smack less of special interests," said Hughes, the former state secretary of transportation.
"There was no quid pro quo in it," Lee said earlier about his appointment of W.H. Holden Gibbs as banking commissioner.
About $25,000 in campaign contributions to the Lee campaign this year can be traced to Maryland's financial community.