It’s Spring So Campaign Finance Violations Are Sprouting

The GOP State Senate primary between Dave Argall and Brian Rich is heating up.  The incumbent, who has routinely violated state campaign finance rules himself, is calling for a criminal investigation of Rich for using his company to answer back on campaign charges.  It’s illegal for corporations to spend money directly to influence an election.  Argall used taxpayer money for years to fund breakfasts where only handpicked Republican supporters were invited so this the pot calling the kettle black.  Love it.

In other campaign finance news Greg Strubinger appears to be violating the law also.  The State House candidate has not formed a campaign committee so is limited to spending under $250.  The profusion of signs, some of them large, hint he is considerably over that limit.  A little birdie tells me some of his big signs don’t have disclaimers (as required by law) saying who paid for them.  In this case everything he does must say “paid for by the candidate.”  I’m hoping for a picture soon.

Armstrong County Commissioner Dave Battaglia is also going to court over campaign finance issues.  Attorney Chuck Pascal is representing a group calling for an audit.  Battaglia filed a report showing an anonymous $7,000 contribution.  Anonymous contributions are illegal.  Now he’s stonewalling the plaintiffs crying that because it is tax season he shouldn’t have to comply with the law.  If he’d complied in the first place that would be irrelevant.

These are yet more examples of a campaign finance system run amuk.  One of the first priorities in Harrisburg has to be to clean up this mess.  If I recall Tom Corbett promised to do this as soon as he took office.  Fifteen months later we’re still waiting on Gov. Gasbag.  Corbett was full of sh*t on this issue.  If his Sec. of State began prosecuting the criminals running for office instead of engaging in voter suppression we’d be better off.

Sheila Dow Ford on the Issues

Congressional candidate Sheila Dow Ford came to Kutztown Wednesday evening willing to discuss the issues presented by people of the 17th Congressional District and did so even though Congressman Tim Holden was too cowardly to face an audience of constituents hostile to his votes, his conduct and his dismissal of our concerns.  Tim Holden has been AWOL from Democrats in Berks County so long now there have been resolutions introduced at the Party level condemning him.  When he does send a surrogate to these meetings all they say in his defense are things he has done for Schuylkill County.  Berks County Dems are concerned with what Holden has, or hasn’t, done for them.  As a result they have embraced his challenger Dow Ford.

The Kutztown University College Democrats and the Kutztown Area Democratic Club, organizers who spent time and effort planning this event should have put a live chicken in a cage in Holden’s place at the table.  A chicken would truly represent the Congressman’s cowardly behavior.  Instead Dow Ford took question after question with no let up since there was no opponent to provide her a bit of breathing space, thought and water between queries.  The audience asked serious questions about serious issues and she stood and answered every one of them.  Her closing remarks were exceptional and I’m going to lead off with that.  The remainder of the video clips are under the fold.

Sheila Dow-Ford on Congressman Holden’s Absence From Debate & Tactics

There was supposed to be a debate last evening between Congressman Tim Holden (PA-17) and his Democratic primary challenger Sheila Dow-Ford sponsored by the Kutztown University College Democrats and the Kutztown Area Democratic Club.  Both were invited and Holden elected not to appear before his constituents and answer questions.  KADC President Karen Feridun tells the audience it is because he had important work to do in Washington.  She goes through the list of critical votes (cough, cough) including recognizing the Connecticut women’s basketball team for winning the national championship.  Now I’m sure we all can relate to how important that is.  Dow_Ford also had a few remarks after the event.

Sheila Dow-Ford on Partisanship & Education

Sheila answers questions about partisanship, health care and education.  Holden voted against help for people losing their homes and she goes after him on the issue.

As she spoke a large group of children gathered along the rim of the Rotunda to listen.  I asked her what she says to them for their future:

Sheila Dow-Ford Announces Her Candidacy for PA-17

Sheila Dow-Ford, with an impressive resume and record of accomplishment formally announced her candidacy for Congress yesterday in the Capitol Rotunda.  She is running as a Democrat in the May 18th primary against Tim Holden of Schuylkill County.  Holden is infamous for voting for the torture of human beings but against their health care.  He told the Pottsville Republican he continues to be a “NO” vote on health care.  Holden’s staff recently bragged to me that he had a 60% voting record with George W. Bush.  Holden is a person with no moral compass who determines his votes on key legislation based on which group in the 17th screams loudest.  He has no set of principles and is a moral coward.  He would rather vote against health care than allow access to it for people he deems as sub human.  He says those who lose their homes because of medical catastrophes are irresponsible.

Tim Holden has lost touch with the people.  He treats us with disdain and contempt.  After voting for the Military Commissions Act which allows the arrest and indefinite detention of Americans without warrants, charges, legal counsel, or trial he screamed at those who protested his shredding of our constitutional rights.

Sheila Dow-Ford is a breath of fresh air for the 17th.  This is my District and I can say I’ve never voted for Tim Holden.  I simply won’t vote for someone anathema to my principles be they Republican, Democrat or a Republican in a donkey costume.  We need a leader, someone who has accomplished important things in their life and is willing to step up and be a leader.  That person is Sheila Dow-Ford.

Watch the remaining video on page 2:

Argall Wins Senate Race

Rep. Dave Argall won the special election for Jim Rhoades’ Senate seat yesterday as low turnout decided the contest.  Argall proved he’ll stoop to nothing to win and cast Steve Lukach with smears which seem to have had an effect on the turnout.  Fewer than 34,000 people cast votes in the sprawling district centered on Schuylkill County.  Lukach released the following statement:

“I congratulate my opponent on a hard-fought victory,” Lukach said. “Our campaign has fought to solve a number of our most pressing problems. There are many issues that must be addressed in this session, including job creation, health care, and property tax relief. I hope that my opponent will carry out these measures in the legislature.

“We can be proud of this campaign.  To my family, friends, and supporters, thank you again for all of your hard work.  Thanks also go to Senator Casey, Congressman Holden, Speaker McCall, State Representatives Goodman and Seip, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and organized labor.  I will not forget everyone’s hard work and support as I continue my work in Schuylkill County Government.”

There now will be a special election to fill Argall’s State House seat.  I imagine Bill Mackey will run for it as her an against Argall the last two general elections.  I went up to volunteer yesterday hence the absence of material here on the blog.

Casey Endorses Lukach

Tomorrow is the special election for the successor to the late Sen. Jim Rhoades.  Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey endorsed Steve Lukach for the position.  This district covers parts of five different counties plus most of Schuylkill County.  It is a conservative area of hard working people and many Catholic voters.  Senator Casey’s endorsement should count heavily among these people.

Today’s snow will depress turnout even more than anticipated.  A normal off year local election primary may see 15-20% turnout.  This election, an off year special election with snow on the ground may not get to 10%.  Turnout is the key and polls mean nothing.  Getting voters to the polls tomorrow will decide this race and nothing else.  Casey, Mike O’Pake, Tim Holden, Tim Seip, Keith McCall, Neil Goodman and Don Cunningham’s endorsements will persuade undecided voters that Steve Lukach will represent their values in Harrisburg.

From Senator Casey:

“I’m proud to endorse Steve Lukach in Tuesday’s special election for State Senate.  I have known Steve for years and I know he’ll work every day to create good-paying jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania. He has been a dedicated public servant: safeguarding our local tax dollars, collecting millions of dollars for crime victims, and protecting his community as a volunteer firefighter.

“Steve shares our values of integrity and hard work. He’ll go to the State Senate to help jump start the economy and push for greater improvement in our roads and bridges, new energy technologies like those using waste coal, and other projects that will put people to work and help rebuild the region. He will be a strong advocate for basic education, tough law enforcement and quality health care for our families.”

Dave Argall’s Pants Are On Fire

You remember tha old saying “liar, liar, pants on fire?”  Dave Argall’s pants are on fire.  Maybe more of Al Boscov’s money can pay for new ones.  The voters in the 29th Senatorial District need to know how the State Rep from Schuylkill County is lying to them.  Worse, he’s a hypocrite trying to have it both ways.

Steve Lukach is Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts and has no votes on taxes in that county.  That is the sole purview of the County Commissioners.  IN fact if Lukach is being blamed for property taxes that means his fellow row officers (Republicans) are also responsible.  Where were Argall’s attacks on them?  Look at the direct mail piece Argall sent out falsely accusing Lukach of raising taxes:

Dave Argall wants to cozy up to Ed Rendell except when he’s running for office.  Then he cozies up to the Governor with Democratic voters while slamming him to Republicans.  Go here to listen to a radio ad currently being run by the Argall campaign.  Now look at these direct mail pieces sent during the current campaign:

Dave Argall wants to have his cake and eat it to when it comes to the Governor.  Here’s another mail piece involving the Governor:

Rep. Argall, please make up your mind if you like Gov. Rendell, want to work with him or slam him constantly for Republican votes.  Hurry up because your pants are fire.

Lukach Laboring Towards Victory

State Senate candidate Steve Lukach roared through Schuylkill, Lehigh and Berks Counties Saturday on the AFL-CIO bus thanking hundreds of union workers canvassing this weekend.  The effort is leading up to Tuesday’s special election in parts of six counties for the 29th Senatorial seat.  Held for years by the late Jim Rhoades Lukach is opposed by State Representative Dave Argall.

Argall voted for the infamous pay raise and voted to raise his own pension by 25%.  He supports a very regressive tax scheme and uses tax dollars to fund “constituent breakfasts” for which only his supporters are invited.

Steve Lukach is being smeared by Argall for voting to increase taxes in Schuylkill County.  As Clerk of Courts Steve has nothing to do with taxes.  Argall’s smears show a desperate candidate willing to mislead voters to line his own pockets…again.

Congressman Tim Holden appeared at the Pine Grove rally for Lukach along with Don Cunningham in Slatington and Sen. Mike O’Pake in Hamburg.  Here are some videos from yesterday (there are more on page 2):