Rep Daryl Metcalfe Corruption Documented

Thanks to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for the research for this article.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is a corrupt member of the Pennsylvania House.  he has taken direct action on behalf of both of his biggest campaign donors since 2008.  During that time Don Rodgers, owner of Creative Real Estate and John Stilley, CEO of Amerikohl have given Metcalfe $23,546 and $36,750 respectively in return for bills sponsored by their Representative directly benefiting their companies.  This quid pro quo is corruption.

Since 2008 Stilley is the single largest contributor to Metcalfe and Rodgers is second.  Creative Real Estate wanted to build a mixed use development which was to include restaurants.  Rodgers complained in a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article about the scarcity of liquor licenses available in the area and that this was affecting his proposed development.

Coincidentally (!!!) about that time Daryl Metcalf introduced a bill in Harrisburg which sought to create a new category for liquor licenses, a bill which would have solved his donor’s problem.

A similar situation happened with his largest donor Mr. Stilley.  Amerikohl is a coal mining company which wound up having problems with the EPA over water discharge permits.  National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits in particular.  The EPA required its own review after any state permit approval (PA’s DEP is infamously industry friendly) and this was an obstacle for Stilley.  Amerikohl was awaiting a permit approval under this system so Stilley testified on July 14, 2011 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight, and Government Spending about his process.

On February 23, 2011 Rep. Metcalfe sponsored a bill urging EPA to stop reviewing these permits.  It passed by a 148-49 vote.  Amerikohl got its permit in December 2012.

Stilley can thank his State Representative for getting a bill passed which directly benefited his business.  The fact he was Metcalfe’s largest campaign contributor during that period means that Daryl Metcalfe is bought lock, stock and barrel.

ACLU, Couples Seek to Overturn Marriage Ban

The Pennsylvania ACLU is suing to overturn the state’s ban on same sex marriage in an action representing four couples denied equality under the law.  As I predicted after the SCOTUS decision on DOMA there is now legal precedent that denial of equal justice under law is unconstitutional and a gateway towards overturning state marriage bans.

If DOMA is unconstitutional then so is Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriage.  This lawsuit will take this case to federal court where the Supreme Court decision will be the basis of the decision.  The Court made very clear that gay couples cannot be denied the same benefits provided heterosexual couples who are allowed to marry and given rights denied under the law to LGBT couples.  The law of the land now says this is illegal.

News & Notes January 3, 2013

This is our first News and Notes of 2013.  I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

The 113th Congress was sworn in today and new Pennsylvania members Keith Rothfus and Matt Cartwright were sworn in to office.  The previous Congress was the most ineffectual in history and this one bears a striking resemblance.

Former State Rep. Joe Brennan is headed to jail for DUI and wife beating.  A judge sentenced him to between 90 days and 2 years.  He lost his seat over the incident and may as well use the time to dry out.  He’s had an obvious drinking problem for some time.

Marriage equality began in Maryland on the first and many couples began hitching up.  You can now get legally wed in Delaware, Maryland, New York and DC but not in Pennsylvania.

Brian Sims, the first openly gay lawmaker elected to the state legislature was sworn into office Tuesday.  Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has already submitted his perennial bill outlawing marriage equality.

The first bill introduced in Congress wasn’t about gun control, immigration reform, renewing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, a farm bill or Hurricane Sandy Relief.  It was Rep. Bachmann’s bill to repeal Obamacare.  Republicans have already wasted 32 votes on this windmill tilting.

Hillary Clinton was discharged from a hospital after four days of treatment for a blood clot.  This apparently was the result of the non-existent (according to Faux News) concussion she faked in order to avoid testifying to Congress about Benghazi.  Yes, she faked a life threatening situation just to avoid a few ridiculous witch hunt queries.  Fox should be ashamed for accusing her of faking such a serious injury (said from someone who suffered six moderate to severe concussions).

As I mentioned above the Violence Against Women Act expired with the new year.  Now women lack basic legal protections because Republicans didn’t believe women in same sex relationships, Native American women and others also deserved protection.  Shame.

I’d like to play poker with Barack Obama.  The man folds even when holding all the aces.  After going over the fiscal cliff Republicans faced all of the blame because the country understood they were holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage for continued cuts for the richest 1%.  No GOP Congressman or Senator with any sanity was going to risk being labeled this way (though some did vote against the final bill and will be).  The President held all the cards and still completed a bad deal.  Included are tax breaks for Goldman Sachs (surprise, surprise), NASCAR and other special interests.

Trans Ocean, one of the corporations responsible for the Gulf oil spill disaster paid a federal fine of $1.4 billion today.  Eleven workers died due to its negligence.  This was a drop in the bucket for a multi-national company.  If corporations are legally persons they should have gotten the death penalty for killing 11 workers.

A Swiss bank pled guilty to aiding the tax evasion efforts of rich Americans.  Wegelin & Co. hid more than $1.2 billion from the IRS and paid a fine of $74 million.  Just another cost of doing business.

Former UFCW Local 1776 head Wendell Young III passed away this week.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

Delaware Senator Chris Coons delivered this speech defending our privacy rights:

The FISA Act passed.

The 9 craziest things Fox News said last year according to one source.  Only 9???

House GOP Flees to Avoid Vote on Corbett Probe

House Dems forced a vote this afternoon on HB 520 which calls on the U.S. Attorney to investigate Tom Corbett’s investigation of Jerry Sandusky.  House Republicans proceeded to flee the floor even though the House remained in session.  Serious questions have arisen about the Attorney General’s probe, why it took so long, why only a single Trooper was assigned until the Gubernatorial election and why a serial sexual predator was allowed three more years on the lam while Corbett buried the case.  Insiders from the AG’s office have said Corbett didn’t want the case and didn’t want it disturbing his run for Governor.

Here’s yet another suspicious item:  Corbett knowingly accepted hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from Board members of The Second Mile during his own investigation of Sandusky.  He then gave the non profit a $3 million grant.  Was this a quid pro quo?  I bet those rabid Republicans on the Board got pissed when the Governor then revoked the grant after the coach’s indictment.  Talk about getting screwed…  Do you think, maybe, some large conservative donors might think twice about funding his re-election campaign after what he did to The Second Mile?

What are House Republicans afraid of?  Why walk out to prevent a vote?

Daryl Metcalfe: 47% Are Lazy

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-ALEC) thinks if you’re one of Mitt Romney’s 47% you’re lazy and don’t deserve the right to vote.  I guess he missed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling this week in which six Justices said voting is a fundamental right.  Metcalfe doesn’t think you deserve to vote if you’re in the PA National Guard, stationed in Afghanistan and not earning enough to pay income tax.  He thinks if you worked all your life and  now are in retirement you’re too lazy to go get an ID and don’t deserve to vote.  If you’ve been seriously injured at work because Pennsylvania refused to regulate workplace safety he thinks you don’t deserve the right to vote.  He thinks if you were born born Black, have been discriminated against in the job market and couldn’t get a good education because Pennsylvania won’t adequately fund public schools you’re really just a lazy bum who doesn’t deserve to vote.  Daryl says if you’re a working woman earning 77 cents to each dollar a man in your same position makes you’re just a lazy bastard who doesn’t deserve to vote.

Who does this moron thinks deserves to vote?  Only those neanderthals who think as he does.  He’s obviously a moron because he doesn’t comprehend that constitution he and his fellow tea baggers are always carrying around but never bother to read (other than the Second Amendment).  Every right we have derives from the right to vote.  When you disenfranchise someone you threaten every other right they possess.  These rights didn’t come from god they came from the framers and writers of our constitution.

The Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal and that all deserve the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Just not if you’re one of the Romney/Metcalfe 47%.  Gee, I missed that somewhere in our laws.  

No government has the right to force me to obtain a government issued ID.  Gov. Corbett actually stated last week that he thinks every one of us should carry ID at all times.  I have news for Corbett and Metcalfe:  Pennsylvania is not a police state and your efforts to make us one will be remembered.

PA Supreme Court: Delay Voter ID

In a victory for democracy the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the lawsuit attacking Voter ID to be remanded back to Superior Court to render a new verdict delaying implementation of the requirement disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.  Now perhaps we can go to federal court and get it declared unconstitutional.

PA Supremes Hear Voter ID Today

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, sitting in Philadelphia, hears arguments for and against Voter ID this morning.  The six members of the state appellate body are evenly split 3-3 by political party.  Meanwhile federal courts are striking down similar laws in various other states.  Ohio’s refusal to allow early voting is also being challenged by a federal court.

Voting rights are under attack by those claiming impersonation at polls is a problem.  No case has been filed in Pennsylvania in living memory so conservatives decided to use that rampant fraud to disenfranchise 758,000 eligible voters.  It’s just coincidence (tongue in cheek comment) that most of those without a photo ID are, demographically, Democrats.

One of the central arguments against the law will be the charge that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson cited a bigoted case from 1869 to justify his ruling.  That case Patterson v. Barlow held that ruffians and degenerates (as considered by those outside Philadelphia) weren’t worthy of voting.  The new law is similar in that it was passed by Pennsylvanians outside Philly to, largely, disenfranchise Philadelphia voters.  Studies show that up to 43% of voters in the City of Brotherly Love don’t have acceptable ID.

Should the Supreme Court fail to over ride Voter ID opponents have little time to go to federal court.  A deadlock along party lines would affirm the bigoted Commonwealth Court ruling and uphold Voter ID.  If Chief Justice Ron Castille rules with his Democratic colleagues (he did so on legislative reapportionment) instead of his fellow Republicans the law goes down and the right to vote is restored.  A federal court could issue an injuntion preventing Pennsylvania from enforcing the law November 6th.

Meanwhile delusional Secretary of State Carol Aichele is claiming that Voter ID will actually increase turnout.  How you do that by suppressing the vote is hysteria.  Perhaps she is eligible for mental health assistance.  Oh wait, those state services have been gutted by Gov. Corbett.  I suppose there’s no help available for her.  Maybe returning to Chester County where she has a history of suppressing the African-American vote on a much smaller scale will serve her better.

Pennsylvania Will be the New Florida in Election Turmoil

Remember the debacle in Florida in 2000?  Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris became the poster person for election fraud as she stole the election for George W. Bush.  Jeb Bush, as Governor, had disenfranchised tens of thousands of Blacks for having the same surnames as convicted felons.  Then the battles of hanging chads, uncounted votes and other controversies were settled by the Supreme Court.

The national election hung on the outcome of the Florida controversy and this year Pennsylvania could be the center of controversy and scrutiny due to our Voter ID law.  As of yet no one really knows how many eligible voters will be turned away at the polls because they can’t produce an acceptable photo ID.  This includes 25% of those in the Pennsylvania Voters Hall of Fame, those who have voted in every election for fifty years.  It also includes legislators and one Congressional candidate.

Voter ID mostly disenfranchises minorities and the elderly.  Poor people who live in urban areas have no reason for photo ID’s.  The very poor don;t use banks, don’t drive and don’t have ID’s.  The elderly in nursing homes have mostly given up driving privileges and have trouble even getting to a drivers license center where they’re likely to be charged $13.50 by PennDOT for an ID which is supposed to be free.

Nine counties don’t have any photo centers at all, others perhaps one.  This makes it hard for those needing the ID’s to get there.  Once they do they’re often being turned away for having proper documentation.  VoterID could cause a million eligible voters to be turned away.  How many civil rights lawsuits will be filed on November 7th?  If you turned me away from exercising my constitutional right I’d have a civil rights lawyer suing your ass.

Stupid people are being quoted as saying you need an ID for everything these days:  flying (reality check, poor people don’t fly), banking (poor people don’t have bank accounts), sending something via UPS (a lie Carol Aichele) or any other number of examples.  The fact is voting is a basic constitutional right and none of these other examples equate with that status.  Millions of people exist and conduct their lives without ID’s.  Requiring one for voting comprises election fraud.

Commonwealth Court will release its decision in a lawsuit filed by the PA NAACP and ACLU-PA this Friday.  It will be appealed to the state Supreme Court by the losing party.  If it is not nullified or repealed before November Pennsylvania is likely to become the focus of a nation on November 7th.  

Provisional ballots will be offered to voters turned away but these folks will have but ten days to produce an acceptable ID or their ballot will be disallowed.  Absentee ballots are not covered, in most part, by the new law.  Laws covering the use of absentee ballots require their use only if you cannot physically get to the polls or will be out your voting area the entire day.  Expect Republicans to enforce these provisions to prevent many voters from trying to get around the VoterID law via absentee ballots.

Republican voters tend to use absentee ballots far more than Democratic voters.  If that changes this year that would be a VoterID indication.  Thousands of provisional and absentee ballots waiting to be counted might mean Pennsylvania will not be decided on election day.  Court battles over those ballots will be Florida 2000 revisited.  Secretary of State Carol Aichele will be the new Katherine Harris and our state will be the focus and laughingstock of the nation.

Metcalfe’s Planned Parenthood Bill Would Jeopardize Federal Funds

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the darling of ALEC, has introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.  His illogic is that he wants to prevent state funding of abortions.  Pennsylvania law already prohibits that and no state funds are used to pay for abortions.  What his bill would do is to close 42 health clinics which serve Pennsylvania residents.  These clinics perfomr pap smears, breast and cervical cancer screenings, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing and routine ob/gyn examinations for many poor people for whom Planned Parenthood is their only medical provider.

It would also jeopardize all federal funding for women’s health care through Medicare and Medicaid.  When Texas enacted a similar law it lost $35 billion.  Metcalfe’s bill would be a violation of federal law.

Gina Rodriguez of the HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services graciously sent me links regarding the law and its consequences.  I met her recently at a White House Hispanic Action Summit and asked her if this would happen.  In an email yesterday she wrote:  “Freedom of choice to all willing & qualified Medicaid providers is a fundamental principle of the program.”

When Texas enacted Mr. Metcalfe’s extreme legislation it received this letter from Health and Human Services.  When the state refused to budge it lost all federal funds for women’s health programs.

Are we going to stand for such an extreme agenda based on a lie?  Are we going to stand aside while a non-elected group like ALEC uses Metcalfe to push its radical agenda and destroy women’s access to needed health care?  Any legislator in Harrisburg who co-sponsors this bill, votes for it in committee or on the floor should be aware of its consequences.  Ignorance is no exception for being responsible to the women of Pennsylvania.

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Association of Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Political Action Committee.

News & Notes June 4, 2012

Former State Senator Jane Orie was sentenced today to 2 1/2 to 10 years and hauled straight off to state prison.   There was no determination on restitution.

Jury selection begins tomorrow in the Sandusky trial in Centre County.  I seriously doubt there’s anywhere near the necessary evidence for a conviction.  The AG’s office hasn’t even found all the alleged victims.  How do you try someone for a crime when you don’t even know who the victim was?

I was at the Capitol all day today visiting state House members about the payday lending bill and Rep. Metcalf’s attempt to defund us at Planned Parenthood.  A Medicare/Medicaid expert at Saturday’s White House Summit said all federal funding for women’s health would be at risk if the bill passed.  Texas lost $35 billion when it passed similar legislation.

UFCW Local 1776 volunteers were plying the hallways working against Mike Turzai’s attempt to defund the Commonwealth by $500 million/year by privatizing liquor stores.  I also ran into Sharon Ward of the Keystone Research Center, Andy Hoover of the ACLU and others.

I also got to the Treasury Department.  It turns out they’ve been holding a small amount of my money for the last thirty years.  I should get a check in 7-10 days.  

Harrisburg Pride returns this year.  If you’re in central PA this LGBT celebration is one to attend.  June is Pride month for our community.  I plan on being at Philly Pride this Sunday.

Tea Party Congressman Allen West has said many outrageous things.  He’s Washington’s Daryl Metcalfe:  a crazy man masquerading as a lawmaker.  Here he is talking about a bill called the “Let Women Die” Act:

Here’s what the law does:

A vote for a bill that would allow hospitals to turn away a woman seeking an abortion, even if it is necessary to save her life (and further giving them license to refuse to refer her to another hospital that could save her life), is not what many would call a laughing matter. But at a town-hall meeting this week, Allen West proved many of us wrong, even calling out to his wife, saying, “Did you know that I voted to let you die?” He also jovially mentioned his vote in favor to redefine rape.

The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is tomorrow.  Walker is a real sleazball.  Here are some excerpts from the Tom Barret/Walker debate:

Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman is back in jail.  Caught lying about his financial condition for bond a judge revoked his previous release.  This has destroyed any credibility the man has making his case for justified homicide weak.

Americans are stupid.  47% in a recent poll believe in creationism over evolution and science.  These same morons don’t believe in global warming even as seas have risen 7 inches and are threatening seaside communities.  How many people have to flee or relocate due to the melting of the ice caps before they wake up from their delusions?  It doesn’t matter what sort of denial you’re in, the oceans aren’t going to stop rising because climate change is very real.  What will happen in the future when millions of people around the world have to flee inland?  I can’t imagine the chaos.

How many Pennsylvanians will die to create a few jobs from fracking?  Time will tell.  Unfortunately idiots think getting a handful of jobs is worth polluting our entire state.  Pennsylvanians aren’t immune from the general stupidity.  A mobile home park in Jersey Shore is being evicted to supply water for the fracking industry.  No company should force people from their homes so they can make a profit.

Marriage bigots boycotting JC Penney are disappointed the company is celebrating Fathers Day with an ad which has two gay dads.  They’re a real couple with real kids.  Please go do some shopping at Penneys.

A good video: