Saturday, February 23, 2008

Philly's Warning to Indies

In a strange act, election officials are “reminding” people that they cannot vote in the Primary Election, April 22, unless they are registered as either a Republican or a Democrat. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia elections officials are advancing this “voter education.”

This “education” is in response to the 700 Philadelphia area residents that called after arriving at their polls on February 5 (Super Tuesday), and found them closed as they should have been. Philadelphia has often been a battleground for voter integrity.

An excellent example of how elections are conducted in Philladelphia can be found here.

Local Politicos Challenged

An article encapsulates the challenges filed across the state of Pennsylvania to deny ballot access to approximately 60 Candidates. Locally, the Scranton Times reports that State Representative Frank Shimkus and his challenger Democrat Kevin Murphy both have had challenges levied against them. There is talk that other local challenges have been filed, though I have not been able to substantiate these claims.

Haire Addresses Hackett Challenge

While it was reported earlier that Congressman Chris Carney’s campaign drew first blood in the campaign for PA-10, Dr. Davis Haire’s campaign has taken the first real swipe against a candidate within the Republican Primary.

It comes in response to a challenge leveled by Chris Hackett for all of the candidates in PA-10 to sign a Citizens Against Government Waste pledge against pork.

From Gort42:

CHRIS HACKETT HAS ALREADY VIOLATED HIS OWN GIMMICKY PLEDGE TO END PORK

Thousands in Contributions to Democrats + $707,000 County Contract = Hackett Violating Pork Pledge

(Tunkhannock, PA) - In response to a gimmicky Earmark Pledge cooked up by
Chris Hackett's campaign today, the Davis Haire campaign blasted Hackett's hypocrisy since he's personally violated the links between contributions and government pork listed in the pledge. Over the last two years, Hackett's questionable contributions to county politicians - Democrat politicians - were followed by a $707,000 county contract in Luzerne County, as reported by the Citizen's Voice last month.

"Dr. Haire already stated his opposition to earmark abuse months ago," said Tom Whitehead, Campaign Manager. "But Chris Hackett should have read the pledge first, since he's guilty of violating the linkage between campaign contributions and pork listed in the pledge. It is hypocritical for Hackett to say he's opposed to wasteful spending since he's personally taken a $707,000 pork barrel government contract from Luzerne County after giving thousands of dollars to the Democratic Commissioners who authorized the contract. Republicans know better and can see through this charade."

I also covered the contract in a previous story.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Murtha, Big Pork

Citizens Against Government Waste has issued a press release declaring Congressman John Murtha “Porker of the Year.”

From the release:
Rep. Jack Murtha has long been known inside the Beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions. There is an area of the House floor known as “Murtha’s Corner,” where the legendary appropriator dispenses earmarks. The overwhelming vote for Porker of the Year vote shows that his shameful behavior is attracting attention throughout the country. The congressman inserts pork whenever he can to serve himself and his district. In fiscal year 2008, he brought home 72 pork projects worth $149.2 million.

Murtha has ties to NEPA. Both Congressman Kanjorski and Carney have a past with Murtha. According to RedState.com, the earmarks used to fund a Cornerstone Technologies project that became very controversial in the 2002 election were inserted by Murtha. When called on to investigate this act, Carney refused to proceed with an investigation despite running on an anti-corruption platform. When a resolution was being considered to question whether Murtha’s tactics violated ethics rules, Carney refused to allow it.

Carney has received thousands of dollars in contributions from Murtha’s leadership PAC as well as his re-election committee. Carney, perhaps following in Murtha’s footsteps, was found to have been the largest spender on earmarks of all Freshman Congressman this year.

Kanjorski Deflated

US Representative Paul Kanjorski’s hopes of an inflatable dam in Luzerne County have been dashed according to an article in the Citizen's Voice.

The Army Corp of Engineers denied the permit which would have in essence turned the Susquehanna River into a 4.5 mile seasonal lake. Environmental concerns seem to have been the largest concern. Had the project been approved, the natural current of the river would have been disrupted as well as causing an acre of wetlands to have been filled in. Acid mine drainage and sewer overflow have also long been associated with the river.
Congressman Kanjorski intends to consult with the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority and consider an appeal.

Shotko Takes a Shot


Kurt Shotko, of Scranton, has decided to enter the race for Congress in PA-11. Mr. Shotko is running on the platform of National HMO for all citizens; using revenue from marijuana sales to fund education; drug testing of elected officials; air, solar, tidal, and biomass energy; improvements in mass transit; and “free trade” reform. His campaign website is http://shotko08.bravehost.com/.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Scavo and Swiderski Out

You may have heard that Old Forge native Frank Scavo was considering a run against Jim Wansacz for the State Representative position in the 114th Legislative District. I was told today by a very credible source that Frank Scavo has decided to pull his name and not seek election to the post.

Also, according to Gort42, Paul Swiderski has ended his bid for Congress in the 10th Congressional District.

Doherty Likes Hillary Clinton

The Scranton Times is reporting that Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. This would not really be that newsworthy except that Doherty won his last re-election race with the support of many Scranton Republicans.

In 2005, Doherty was on the ropes after a tight Primary against fellow Democrat Gary DiBileo. DiBileo and Doherty both used the vacant Republican line as an insurance policy and conducted a write-in campaign. DiBileo was successful and won the Republican nomination.

The Scranton Times reported that this caused a stir in the Republican Party and caused the formation of the “Concerned Republicans for Re-Electing Mayor Doherty” committee. Some Republicans, including Republican State Committee Members, lent their support to Doherty in a letter.

Over the weekend, Republican State Committee has endorsed John McCain.

Meuser's New Digs


Dan Meuser, one of three Republicans running in the 10th Congressional District, has launched a new website. The address is http://www.meuserforcongress.org/. The new site is a great improvement and worth checking out.

Also, Dan Meuser’s campaign was on hand this week for Lou Barletta's announcement that he was going to enter the race in Pennsylvania’s 11th District. The Times Leader reports that Scott Burnside of the Meuser campaign was in attendance to show support for the Mayor.

Before announcing his own bid for congress, Lou Barletta endorsed Dan Meuser’s bid for congress stating “Dan Meuser is the candidate running in Pennsylvania’s 10th District who has the values, the experience, and determination to help move our country and our area in the right direction.”

Hackett on Earmarks

Chris Hackett, one of three Republicans running in the 10th Congressional District, took Democrat Congressman Chris Carney to task this week on Earmarks. According to his release “Today, by a very close 204-196 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a measure that would have established a moratorium against wasteful earmark spending. Tenth District Congressman Chris Carney sided with the liberal majority in favor of keeping the Washington waste machine going.”

What Hackett is referring to is the earmark moratorium vote that took place on February 7th. The Republicans lead an effort to stop earmarks in congress. Only seven Democrats broke ranks to vote with the Republicans. Congressman Carney held tight with the democrats to preserve the earmark process.

This vote shouldn’t surprise anyone. It was reported in the Daily and Sunday Review that of all freshman Congressman, Carney was the largest spender on earmarks. Carney defended his over $18,000,000 in earmark spending as being advocacy for his district.

Barletta in, Democrats Start Swinging


Unless you live under a rock, you have already heard that Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta has announced his bid for the 11th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. Within hours, the Democratic Party establishment has fired a bevy of attacks against Barletta. As you may remember, in a previous post I pointed out a Times Leader story that reported on Lou Barletta's disgust with Congressman Paul Kanjorski's "franked" mail. The tax-payer funded pieces dealt with Veterans benefits, prescription drug plans, and with Illegal Immigration. Apparently, the third missive is what really set Barletta off.

TJ Rooney, Chairman of the Democrat State Committee, is quoted in the Scranton Times as being a "one trick pony." I think it is a safe assumption to state that Rooney was likely referring to Barletta's case against illegal immigration. This is strange since Congressman Kanjorski has used the above mentioned franked mail to inform voters of the 11th Congressional District of his position on the subject. Furthermore, Congressman Kanjorski issued a press release on the 8th of February touting the fact that he went the extra mile to ensure that illegal immigrants were not able to benefit from the recently passed economic stimulus package. So much so, that the press release states that Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recognized his work on the subject.

I think someone didn't get the memo. Illegal immigration is an incredibly popular issue in NEPA. To attack a candidate for being a national leader on an issue that is popular is not very wise, particularly when Paul Kanjorski is working to convince voters that he is tough on the issue himself. I think the democrats' zeal to attack Barletta is blinding them to the issues and causing them to make rather ridiculous mistakes.

Carney Breaks 2006 Pledge Again

From The Majority Accontability Project

U.S. Representative Chris Carney, D-PA, who vowed in 2006 that he would “not accept money from energy or big oil companies,” received campaign contributions from at least three energy companies, including a nuclear power producer investigated for a host of safety violations, research by the Majority Accountability Project (www.majorityap.com) has found.

Carney’s year-end campaign finance disclosure, made public by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) last week, reported the freshman Democrat received campaign donations of $1,000 each from Exelon Corporation, Foundation Coal and PPL Corporation, all major energy companies.

Exelon, the largest nuclear energy producer in the United States, has faced a firestorm of criticism from federal and state regulators over safety violations at two of their nuclear plants. In one investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), guards at the company’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County, PA, were found to be regularly sleeping on the job.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hackett's Week

Chris Hackett has had a busy week. This week, Hackett picked up the endorsement of three special interest groups, the Pennsylvania Eagle Forum, the Concerned Women Political Action Committee, and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter.

The Eagles are most known for their fight against evolution being taught in education and feminism. As far as feminism goes, they support prohibiting women from military ground combat, prohibiting women from serving on submarines, and outlawing participation proportionality of women in college intercollegiate sports.

The Concerned Women PAC is known for their opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, opposition to embryonic stem cell research, and their opposition to SCHIP.

The Associated Builders and Contractors is known for their opposition to the prevailing wage and their opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

Hackett was also in Towanda to discuss earmarks and bringing jobs to the area. Specifically, he stated in his speech that he just recently brought two companies to the area. One is a retail clothing store for women and children and the other provides help-desk services to pharmaceutical companies.

This is an obvious expansion in the labor market. But, since the article doesn’t name the companies or give any background information on them, it is impossible to tell by how much. Specifically, it would be helpful to know if they would be creating family sustaining jobs in the area. If they do, kudos to Hackett!

The Money is in!

The year end report deadline has come and gone. The numbers are finally here for PA-10. I will list them in descending order:

Congressman Carney ended the 2007 with $762,569 Cash on Hand
Dan Meuser ended 2007 with $398,348 Cash on Hand
Chris Hackett ended 2007 with $386,806 Cash on Hand
Joe McDade ended 2007 with $59,872 Cash on Hand
Don Ely ended 2007 with $8,846 Cash on Hand
Davis Haire ended 2007 with $450 Cash on Hand
Paul Swiderski ended 2007 with $0 Cash on Hand (no filing listed)

While it may be because they declared so late, both Davis Haire and Paul Swiderski ended the year with less money than Joe McDade, a former congressman that hasn’t been in office since 1998. I don’t mention Don Ely since he has withdrawn and endorsed Meuser.

Carney received contributions from a partner in and the General Manager of Times Shamrock. Times Shamrock owns many of the media venues in the 10th Congressional District. They certainly have the right to participate in the political process. Frankly, I wish more people did participate in the process. It does however get a little tricky when they own a media outlet. It is my hope that they will be able to separate their personal political decisions from the reporting of their various papers and radio stations.

As a bit of follow-up, I covered Congressman Carney’s opening salvo against Dan Meuser here. In that story, I also discussed a poll conducted by the American Hospital Assn PAC. This “non-partisan” outfit also contributed as well as in-kinded the poll. The contribution seems to be refunded. I would be remiss if I did not mention their obvious support of Congressman Carney.