Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gazette: Duncan's school-for-cash scandal is a 'setback'

The report that County Executive Doug Duncan took money from crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff just before deciding to hand over public school property to Abramoff's private school "is viewed as a setback for his gubernatorial campaign and intensifies allegations that he is too cozy with special interests," the Gazette reports.

"These are troubling revelations and they raise serious questions," said a spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Duncan's rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. "We look forward to the facts emerging in the coming days so that more light can be shed on what exactly happened between Doug Duncan’s campaign and Jack Abramoff."

A Duncan spokeswoman denies any link: "There is absolutely no relation between the lease of the school and campaign contributions."

Says the Gazette, "Duncan supporters said the Abramoff imbroglio would pass and dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing." However, even Duncan supporters acknowledge a problem. Maryland Senate Finance Chairman Thomas McLain Middleton, a Duncan backer, admits that the report is a "political liability" for the politician.