Harry R. Hughes, Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, yesterday called on his Republican opponent, J. Glenn Beall, Jr., to reveal how much money he received from a secret White House fund during his 1970 U.S. Senate race and how the money was spent.
"We've been waiting a long time to get an explanation for that money and we're not getting it," Hughes said, adding Maryland voters regularly mention the issue. "I believe that it's rather important considering what's happened in this state."
Hughes remarks at a luncheon interview with Washington Post reporters and editors represented his first attempt to revive the so-called "Townhouse" fund issue that has bedeviled Beall for years and contributed to his 1976 Senate reelection loss.
Beall acknowledged during his Senate race two years ago that he concealed the source of $180,000 that aides to former President Nixon secretly funneled into his 1970 campaign, which he won by defeating the incumbent senator, Joseph Tydings.
But questions persisted after it was reported that a former White House aide testified before the Senate Watergate committee in 1973 that Beall had received $250,800. Beall has denied accepting the larger figure, standing firm at $180,000.
Beall also ran into trouble when he refused to reveal the names of Baltimore Democrats who were paid $40,000 of White House cash for "walk-around" money to work the polls for Beall. Beall said he does not know specifically who received the cash.
Beall was campaigning yesterday and could not be reached for comment. George Beall, the candidate's brother, and one of his campaign advisers, called Hughes' comments "irresponsible and irrelevant" to the campaign. "Its a late campaign smear tactic," he said. "It smacks of nervousness and an attempt to dismiss Glenn at a time he is catching on."
George Beall said the $250,800 figure cited by the former White House aide has "never been substantiated." He said his brother truly does not know who received the 'walk-around money" because his 1970 campaign manager distributed it.
Asked if he could produce the 1970 campaign manager to clear up lingering questions, George Beall said the man has been ill for years and out of reach. "I don't like the idea of getting him into something just to satisfy Mr. Hughes' curiosity," he said.
Hughes, who attributes his surprise victory in the September primary to voter anger over recent political scandals in Maryland, said he decided to air the Townhouse issue because "many people have mentioned it and said we're due an explanation."
After the last two elected governors have been felled by political scandals, he said, the main issue in this campaign is "honesty and integrity in government. More than anything else I hear, 'Let's clean house' or 'We need something different.'"
Beall's integrity should also be called into question, the Democratic nominee said, by his recent series of "untrue and misleading" statements about Hughes' campaign proposals and his stewardship as Maryland transportation secretary.
Beall has tried to portray Hughes as a free spender by claiming that his budget grew 171 percent in his seven years as secretary. But Beall failed to point out that the department had acquired new programs during those years, Hughes said. Moreover, a large share of the budget consisted of federal, not state, funds.
"That's reflects a lack of candor and information," Hughes said.
Hughes said; if elected, he would make "significant changes" in the present cabinet and would appoint department chiefs who would adopt a "sort of zero-based budgeting" in evaluating state programs and cutting out unnecessary or inefficient ones.
But he said he opposes Proposition 13 style ballot referendums in Prince George's and Montgomery counties because they are a "bad way to affect tax reductions. Local governments have to make the hard decisions and stop wasteful programs. The intelligent way is to do an evaluation."