THE INFORMATION from both fronts is scant, but now both of last fall's campaigns for governor of Maryland are under investigation. First it was Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the spotlight last summer, when word surfaced that a federal grand jury had been investigating a state crime control agency overseen by her as lieutenant governor -- a probe she angrily denounced as "political garbage." Democrats pointed to the fact that the investigation was generated by U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio, a Bush administration appointee recommended for his position by then-Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. At the time, Mr. Ehrlich was promising to rid the state of what he described as a culture of corruption. He said then that he believed that Mr. DiBiagio had uncovered "a political slush fund" fueled with federal grant money and "dedicated to Townsend's election."
Now three people connected with the Ehrlich campaign have been indicted by a grand jury in Prince George's County, two for allegedly hiring poll workers on Election Day and a third for allegedly paying homeless people to work the polls for the Republican ticket. A spokesman for Gov. Ehrlich says the campaign did nothing improper; and to balance this political equation, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party says the candidate and campaign manager are responsible for what goes on in a campaign. For those keeping partisan score, State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, who is conducting this investigation, is a Democrat.
In the federal case, which seemed for a while to have gone dead, subpoenas are flying again. In Prince George's, the investigation is said to be continuing. Investigators in all the proceedings, unlike the candidates last fall, aren't talking.