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Franchot Asks O'Malley To Call Off The "Attack Dogs"

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) said today that he was the victim of a "Swift-boat style" attack carried about by pro-slots forces and called on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to "call off the attack dogs, stop the negative campaigning and return the foreign gambling money."

Franchot's comments came during an anti-slots rally in Baltimore, in which he appeared with ministers opposed to a November referendum that asks voters to authorize up to 15,000 slot machines at five locations.

The "foreign gambling money" was a reference to $2 million pledged donation to the pro-slots campaign by Magna Entertainment Corp., a Canadian-based company that owns two major Maryland racetracks, Laurel Park in Anne Arundel and Pimlico in Baltimore.

The attacks that Franchot was protesting came Friday in a statment by For Maryland For Our Future, the leading pro-slots organization. The group, which has the blessing of O'Malley, a slots supporter, said it was starting to air television ads in Baltimore to counter false information being spread by Franchot. The ads themselves do not mention the comptroller.

"Before this sprials out of control, I am calling on Governor O'Malley to order his campaign to cease and desist with the negative attacks," Franchot said at the rally, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. "Let's continue this debate on the merits of the issue, not on personalities -- and personal attacks."

The attacks that Franchot was protesting came Friday in a statement by For Maryland For Our Future, the leading pro-slots organization. The group, which has the blessing of O'Malley, said it was starting to air television ads in Baltimore to counter false information being spread by Franchot. The ads themselves do not mention the comptroller.

"There are honorable people on both sides of this debate, but facts are facts - and correcting misinformation is not an attack," Steve Kearney, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. He added that Franchor had supported legislation for a slots referendum as recently as 2001.

In a brief interview, O'Malley declined to respond to Franchot's comments. The governor was attending a bipartisan rally to encourage Marylanders to register to vote for the presidential election before the Oct. 14 deadline.

The Annapolis rally included both U.S. senators and the chairmen of the Maryland Democratic and Republican parties.

By John Wagner  |  October 7, 2008; 6:14 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Next: High Drama At Maryland's Death Penalty Commission


The TV spot is very misleading. It claims that voting yes will solve all the world's problems, but it does not say voting yes to what. They fail to say voting yes to slots.

The spot also characterizes opponents as advocating millions in higher taxes. Again, this is off-the-charts misleading.

If I were Peter Franchot, I would be demanding that Governor O'Malley simply play straight to the Maryland taxpayer.

(I sound so Republican, I am far from it.)

Posted by: Deceived by O'Malley | October 7, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Those "foreign interests" invested a lot of money in the state of MD. Was Franchot concerned when they wrote those checks?

Posted by: Paul | October 7, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

With all these pro-slots and anti-slots campaigns, there's a need for an unbiased source of information. The Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute (MB&TPI) helps regular persons to cut through the confusion. MB&TPI has not taken a position for or against the referendum. Instead, MB&TPI describes in plain language the specifics of the proposal, and how it fits into the state’s financial picture. MB&TPI critically examine each of the major issues in the public debate. In each case, the claims of both sides will be summarized. The issue will be framed in the context of Maryland’s particular situation. The evidence for all the competing claims is summarized, drawing on the research literature and on the experience of other jurisdictions.

I encourage citizens to access the regular person guide. It can be accessed at:

Posted by: B. Anthony | October 7, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I read that Maryland Policy report very carefully. While it's generally quite accurate, there are a few problems.

First, they take the Perez Report as gospel. This "report" is a political hack job that intentionally misleads through omission. For instance, when crime in Jeffereson County WV rose 52% in 2005, Tom Perez simply cut the report off at 2004. Totally misleading, and totally political.

Next, some of the data comes from a report issued in 1977. That is simply WAY too old to be useful in this debate. At that point they had gambling in Vegas, and Atlantic City was still in the pipeline. You can't realisitically compare the world of the Carter Administration to the world of today.

I don't mean to damn the whole report, but there are a handful of problems. Make sure you read those footnotes and ask yourself about the strength of the source material.

Oh, and as a principal in the referendum I can tell you first hand that these guys are running a pretty nasty campaign.

Vote no on 2.

Posted by: Aaron Meisner | October 7, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that either MD goes with the slot machines or the tax payers perpare for a hefty tax hike. It's up to you. However I do seem to think that the tax payer will get it in the end, the rear end.

Posted by: askgees | October 7, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Judge | October 7, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

OMalley is such a disappointment as Governor. He's the worst sort of politician. And I'm a lifelong Democrat.

Posted by: Leon | October 7, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Franchot not only deserves to be called out for his inappropriate use of the slots issue as his own personal campaign for governor vehicle, but he should be swiftly voted out of his current office for dereliction of duty. What does he propose we substitue for slots revenue, is he going to start charging for each self promoting speech he gives? That might go a long way toward plugging the hole in the budget given how often he toots his own proverbial horn.

Posted by: mrosen3 | October 7, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Also misleading in the ads for slots is their talk of $700 million for education. Not only is the $700 million the revenue expected over several years, it is also the revenue generated. Not the state's share. And of that only a portion of it is allocated for education. And it does not require that the state supplement education funding by that amount, they can simply provide the same amount of funding out of that source as they do today from the general fund.

But all of that still doesn't address the real problem. The state will spend every penny that is allocated to them. If they made $700 million from slots, they would spend it. If they made $700 BILLION they would spend it. And that's the real problem.

I'd be curious to find out if the state budget ever has gone DOWN in the past. I really doubt it.

Posted by: jjtwo | October 7, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much magna et al gave to the MD Dem. party and how much they gave to O'Malley?

Posted by: mike | October 7, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley truly is a tragic disappointment as Governor ... especially for Democrats like me.

Does anyone know if O'Malley doesn't have a substance abuse problem ?

Posted by: Bee-mo | October 7, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Taxpayers across the state and country are all getting screwed by a bloated system. This government spends a large percentage of our taxes on interest. The federal government owes 10 trillion. How much do our state and county owe? I don't know, but Uncle Sam and sons needs to tighten their belts and pay off debt so we can reduce our debt service burden not to mention so we stop enslaving our children for today's luxuries. If the cost is not guaranteed to reap future profit it must stop.

In summary, taxpayers are getting screwed by a 50 years of government loans, and we have to demand that our leaders make us pay them off so we can start to get ahead. We've been breeding more and more people and producing less and less per capita, with spiraling results. We have to return to a net gain economy, eg. where we produce enough to have some left over for the rainy days, or our country will eventually fall to a government that can create a sustainable economy.

Taxpayers are going to pay. If it's slots, the poor are the primary customer, so the poorest will pay. If we all agree to bite the bullet then at least it is not just the poor who will have a lesser quality of life. We all must face reality. We all must pay our way. We all must demand a stop to the lending economy which takes a significant percentage of the production of all in the form of interest, and gives it to the rich who thereby coerce the masses into enabling them to live a luxurious life and buy our representatives loyalty away from us.

I respect Mr. Franchot for what he is trying to do. I believe it is the best thing. And I do not mean any disrespect to Gov. O'Malley, though I do not agree that we should entice the poor with bad risk of huge gains in order to pay for our services.
Thank you.
William Small
Annapolis MD

Posted by: Already taking it in the rear | October 8, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

How come the slots weren't approved when Erhlich was in office? Weren't all the Democrat against the slots then? Also, I don't think it's in Maryland's best interests to have the Canadian Owners be the reciprients of Marylander's gamblers gamblings. Does that make sense?

Posted by: TWOTIMETUNA | October 8, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It does sound like Franchot is running for office.
I think slots is a bad idea but I'm about ready to vote yes because it seems that our elected officials will take a no vote as evidence that the people of Maryland want higher taxes.

I figure if slots pass and the money doesn't show up they'll have no excuse not to ramp back spending.

Posted by: RoseG | October 8, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Weather you depend on gambling revenue or taxes gambling should still be legal in the state it's bull **** that people have the option to put their money in the stock market or the lottery but can't enjoy a game of poker without having to worry about a police raid. Everyone has to pay taxes so it isn't like if we ever get casinos in the state they won't need to pay taxes like everyone else unless they bring back charity casinos which would probably be exempted from taxes since they make the money for charity. But anyway why should gambling be illegal at all i'd love to see it turn back into little nevada ( will tell about it if you don't already know) instead of the state of tax hungry liberals who oppose a slot proposal because its a republican governor (Bob Ehrlich) that kept trying to legalize slots and maybe get all gambling legalized eventually but when a democrat (who didn't improve baltimore city and rigged the records to make it look like he lowered the crime) proposes it they vote for it. The lawmakers aren't for the state their for themselves and the voters keep voting them back in at least the lawmakers in my area are for gambling one of them has a cash game at his resturant once a week the others I don't know but slots should've been legalized years ago it shouldn't have ever been illegal and with the casinos in atlantic city or las vegas they have cameras everywhere so it is almost impossible to cheat and legalize casinos it'll create dealer jobs, management jobs, security jobs etc and if it turns into atlantic city it'll also create retail jobs. Let harrahs and trump and hilton etc. bring casinos down here if they can't stay in business then let them close the casinos but don't make it where the government uses tax money to bailout the casinos like the federal government is doing for wall street. If wall street/businesses gets bailed out for their failures then the casino players should get the same thing because weather you put your money in the stock market or the lottery or casinos its all gambling same for the sports bettors that buy into football pools or bet on their teams to win.

Posted by: James | October 9, 2008 3:35 AM | Report abuse

Regarding that 1977 reference Aaron, it sounds like the point is that there is no other evidence except for a study that came out that year, meaning it is null and void.

Posted by: B. Anthony | October 13, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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