Candidates for Maryland attorney general were asked the following question by the Washington Post: Powers: To what extent should the attorney general use his powers to look into the affairs of local government?
Robert N. Dugan (R), 40, of 2312 Springlake Dr., Timonium, is an attorney who has been in private practice for 10 years. A former FBI agent, he has been assistant state's attorney for Baltimore City, where he served on the Narcotics Strike Force and specialized in narcotic investigations and prosecutions. He is a graduate of University of Maryland law school.
Powers: The attorney general's office should not look into the affairs of local government unless asked to do so by the governor or the General Assembly. If the attorney general is conducting a grand jury investigation in a local subdivision, grand jury secrecy must be protected. Under the Democratic incumbent, a grand jury criticized the attorney general's office for leaking details of the investigation to the press. The goal of any investigator must be an attempt to obtain the facts in a fair and impartial manner, not to get publicity to further the political career of the attorney general. In my opinion, the attorney general has been embarrassed and humiliated in several investigations because the Democratic incumbent has tried to transform the office into that of a statewide prosecutor. Our state constitution and statutes wisely place restrictions on using the power of the office to look into the affairs of local government.
Stephen H. Sachs (D), incumbent, 48, of 2426 Brambleton Rd., Baltimore, attorney general of Maryland since 1979, has been an assistant U.S. attorney and was U.S. attorney for Maryland from 1967 to 1970; he concentrated on cases involving white-collar crime and public corruption. A graduate of Yale law school, he also has been in private practice.
Powers: The attorney general must respect autonomy of local government, but at the same time should provide leadership and guidance in areas of special expertise. We broke tradition by giving opinions on issues of state law directly to local executives and county councils, thereby avoiding disputes and costly litigation. Also should advise local boards of education and provide guidance regarding recent Supreme Court decision on power of local jurisdictions to grant monopolies. Should be continuously available to advise local states attorneys on matters of state criminal law and procedure. Should seek gubernatorial authority, provided in the constitution, to investigate and proscecute white-collar crimes committed by local officials when matters transcend capacity of local prosecutors.