Underage Drinking, Doug Gansler, and Martin O’Malley


The local news cycle has been dominated since Wednesday night by news of an Instagram photograph of Attorney General Doug Gansler at a party at a Delaware beach house the week after his son’s graduation back in June. Gansler claimed he was just checking on his son and had no idea underage drinking was going on at the party (an idea that was mocked by Jay Leno last night.)

Gansler is having to deal with the blowback on this out in the open, whether it’s people defending him or maligning him. Gansler has subsequently said he “made a mistake” and should’ve done things differently.

The situation was a bit different in 2010 when Governor Martin O’Malley’s daughter was found unconscious on the streets of Baltimore due to alcohol poisoning. She had been at a party celebrating her graduation from high school also.

The AP reported on the O’Malley family response:

Gov. O’Malley’s wife, Baltimore District Judge Katie O’Malley, issued a statement a day later, saying her daughter had attended a graduation celebration before she “became ill and received medical treatment.” She called it a “teachable moment” and asked that the family’s privacy be respected. The statement did not mention alcohol as the cause.

Here’s what the Baltimore Sun said about the family response:

The O’Malleys declined to provide details about their daughter, calling it a private, family matter. Katie O’Malley said in her statement that “Tara returned home last night and is feeling much better.”

After the AP filed a public information request, the Baltimore Police Department released a phone call from the responding police officer to a dispatcher. A police spokesman at the time said that they sought approval of the O’Malley family before they did so.

More on the call from the AP:

A dispatcher questioned if alcohol poisoning was the reason the officer needed an ambulance for Tara O’Malley at Inner Harbor on May 27 and Sgt. Duane Henry said it was.

During a cellphone call to the dispatcher, Henry was careful to note that the young woman was the governor’s daughter and that he didn’t want it to be broadcast over the police radio.

“The governor’s daughter is passed out over here,” Henry said, adding: “I can’t put that on the air.”

The O’Malley family put out a vague statement not addressing the issue and the police sought approval from the family before releasing the call from the responding officer to the media. That call was only made in the first place instead of a radio call to try to protect the identity of O’Malley’s daughter. Contrast this to Gansler addressing the issue head-on in the original article by Michael Dresser (even if he mishandled his response in some ways in my opinion) and again today when he held a news conference and said that he “made a mistake” and should have handled things differently.

Of course, there have been other O’Malley brushes with alcohol in the past.

In August 2012, I pointed out tweets from Tampa saying that Governor O’Malley, who was in town for the Republican National Convention, was intoxicated in a bar. Those tweets were later deleted, but I have since talked to people who were there who confirmed the Governor was drunk.

In 2006, when O’Malley was running against then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, details of a 1987 DUI arrest for O’Malley were reported on. O’Malley was found not guilty (although questions were raised back in 2006.) When this issue came up in 2006, O’Malley’s spokesman Steve Kearney, now of KO Public Affairs and a founder of the supposedly nonpartisan Center Maryland, accused the Ehrlich campaign of dropping “sleaze.”

Now the shoe is on the other foot as Gansler seems to be implying the dirt is coming from the O’Malley-Brown machine.

From Jayne Miller’s report last night:

I have worked at the state and local level for 21 years. Only when I announced I was running for Governor did these ideas that there is some issue with my character or judgement or what have you … We know exactly who these things are fed by.

Asked if he thought he was the target of character assassination by his opponent, he said maybe and that he expects more of it.

Another WBAL report from Lowell Melser last night shows Brown looking surprised at a question about whether he knew about the matter ahead of time before saying he read it first in the newspaper yesterday. Brown then says that he and Ken Ulman are running a clean campaign. Melser also interviewed Barry Rascovar who pointed out even if Brown technically told the truth there were probably wheels turning behind the scenes. Rascovar also pointed to the aggressive campaign tactics the O’Malley-Brown team used in 2006 against Ehrlich.

The torrent of slime that has been launched against Gansler since right after John Wagner broke the story on his expected announcement of Jolene Ivey as his running mate has been amazing. I’ve heard many people talk about it as the worst sliming of a Democrat by another Democrat in Maryland for as long as they can remember.

This tweet sums the situation up nicely:


Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton