Keystone Progress Asks For Corbett Records

Keystone Progress has filed right to know requests for communications involving Attorney General Tom Corbett’s frivolous lawsuit against enactment of health insurance reform.  The group is seeking to discover if their was collusion among Republican Attorneys General in filing these suits:

The Right to Know request asked for all correspondence to and from Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett and the Attorney General’s staff with individuals inside and outside of Pennsylvania urging Corbett to file the Republican-orchestrated frivolous lawsuit. Corbett’s announcement of filing his suit occurred before anyone had a chance to read the legislation. [Copies attached]

The first request is seeking any correspondence between Corbett and his office and entities outside of the Commonwealth.  The Attorney General has coordinated his activities with other attorneys general, even before there was legislation to challenge.

The second filing seeks correspondence between Corbett and his office and Members of the General Assembly and their staff.  Legislators were encouraging the Attorney General to file a suit, again even before there was legislation.

“Our members believe that this lawsuit is purely partisan politics,” said Michael Morrill, Keystone Progress Executive Director. “Taxpayers have a right to know if there has been a national conspiracy to take political action from the Office of Attorney General, especially in light of Corbett’s prosecution of others for using their offices for partisan politics.”

This could be quite interesting.  Corbett, the presumptive GOP nominee for Governor, is already under fire for using state phones to communicate with his campaign while, at the same time, prosecuting Democrats for using state resources for campaign work.  The new Pennsylvania Open Records Law presumes all of the records being sought to be public and the AG has but five days to respond to Keystone Progress’ request (filed last Friday).  Will Tom Corbett comply with the law?

New Website Tracking Specter’s Votes

A coalition of progressive organizations has launched a website called Specter Scorecard with a sports theme to track the Senator’s key votes on several issues.  The baseball bat prominent on the page shows his current batting average at .500.  Keystone Progress, Penn Action, Clean water Action, True Majority, Progress Now and Stand With Dr. Dean are sponsoring the effort along with their allies.

The bills they will be tracking are the Employee Free Choice Act, the President’s progressive budget, the Clean Water Act, a public option for health care reform, and the Panama “Free” Trade Agreement.  The public option for health care is not something I consider a progressive or liberal position but centrist.  I asked them about why they didn’t make single payer healthcare their benchmark and they replied that since that will not be coming up for a vote it wasn’t considered.

Sen. Max Baucus has shut any consideration of single payer healthcare from the Senate’s deliberations and has even had those attempting to include it arrested.  This is a significant progressive issue but I see their rationale.  It isn’t possible to calculate Specter’s batting average on single payer when the Senate Democrats are prohibiting even a discussion of single payer.

The sites the website links to don’t go into much detail about the bills and since the average person isn’t as knowledgeable about these as we junkies are I suspect they’ll add that as they go along.  They also said they could add other issues as they arise or remove an issue like EFCA is Specter puts forward an unacceptable compromise bill.  This is a website where Pennsylvanians can track Sen. Specter’s progress as a Democrat and determine for themselves how he is voting.  They can then determine whether to keep Arlen in the starting lineup or trade him for a player to be named later or simply replace him with a pinch hitter.  I vote to switch to a horse racing format and send him out to pasture.