Fulton denies sharing information with GOP

Sun Staff

Del. Tony E. Fulton denied yesterday allegations that he shared with Republicans the draft of an agreement signed between Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Baltimore-area black lawmakers.

"I think it's reckless and false for people to make accusations about me," the Baltimore Democrat said in an interview yesterday. "This is all a game that's being played out to force me to conform.

"I won't be cajoled or pressured to make a commitment to the party or the party representative," Fulton said.

Fulton - who was out of town until early yesterday morning - was responding to allegations raised Monday during the signing of a "shared vision" between Townsend and the Benjamin Banneker Caucus, a coalition of black delegates from the Baltimore metropolitan area.

The document - backing such items as increased funding for public schools, historically black colleges and drug treatment programs - was similar to a pledge signed last week by Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

During the signing ceremony, Del. Howard P. Rawlings - who led the development of the document by the caucus - and other black delegates and senators charged that Ehrlich's campaign "stole" a draft of their work in an effort to be the first to sign a pledge to the African-American community.

Fulton is the only member of the Benjamin Banneker Caucus not to sign the pledge, and other black lawmakers suggested that he must have shared the document draft with Ehrlich's campaign.

But Fulton - who is vice chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus - said yesterday he hasn't seen the pledges signed by Ehrlich or Townsend. He said he hasn't endorsed either gubernatorial candidate.

Ehrlich also has denied seeing any documents from the Townsend campaign regarding issues of importance to the African-American community.

Other African-American lawmakers from the Baltimore area said yesterday they continue to believe that someone shared drafts of their documents with Ehrlich.

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