Thursday, January 15, 2009

Richardson Mess Prompts Republicans to Fight Pay-to-Play in PA

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pennsylvania Republican delegation is poised to make eliminating pay-to-play politics in Pennsylvania. The Republicans propose to prevent political contributors from receiving state contracts.

The issue was reignited during the U.S. Attorney investigation into Democrat Governor and former Obama nominee Bill Richardson. Apparently, one of Richardson’s $100K contributors is also a very heavy Rendell contributor.

The Pennsylvania issue revolves around one of the principles in CDR Financial Products of Beverly Hills. David Rubin, CDR’s CEO, contributed $100,000 to Richardson and later won a $1,500,000 contract from Richardson’s state. Rubin also contributed $40,000 and was later awarded a $600,000 no-bid contract to act as an advisor to Pennsylvania’s House Finance Agency.

Democrat Governor Rendell has not been accused of wrongdoing and Rubin has vehemently denied any pay-to-play actions.

Democrat Rendell has stated through his spokesman that he only knew Rubin “tangentially.” Rendell however issued a statement in 2003 that “My intention is to recruit the best and brightest professionals to help develop recommendations for me new administration … we are very pleased to have Dave Rubin as part of our team.”

Allentown Republican Representative Douglas Reichley was very critical of Democrat Rendell’s contract awards. He is quoted as saying In the last six years, the pay-to-play mind-set that prevailed in Philadelphia under Mayor Rendell has migrated to Harrisburg to become the prevailing motto for the award of no-bid contracts worth millions of taxpayer dollars to friends and supporters of Gov. Rendell.”

Specifically mentioned by Reichley was Rendell’s award to his former law firm of an “emergency” $1 million contract to draft Pennsylvania’s transportation funding law a.k.a. Act 44.

Rendell’s staff responded in an equally pointed way suggesting that the insinuations were groundless and challenged Reichley to disclose the evidence of pay-to-play activities to the proper authorities or retract the allegations.

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