Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FEC Complaint Filed Over Callahan's Deceptive Misuse of Campaign Funds

On the day he's set to launch his petition drive for Congress, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan finds himself in hot water with the Federal Elections Commission. According to a complaint filed today by Pennsylvania GOP boss Rob Gleason, Callahan has been funneling money from his mayoral committee to fund his congressional quest.

Gleason's complaint centers on approximately $10,000 in payments to Stanford Campaigns, a Democrat opposition research firm. According to Callahan’s own campaign manger Justin Schall, this firm was hired to, “find out what criminal background checks the name John Callahan would dig up.” The funds raised by his mayoral campaign committee were used to help Mr. Callahan “test the waters” for a possible federal campaign.

Not only did Callahan illegally use money from his mayoral campaign to fund his congressional bid, but he totally failed to report his expenditure in any federal report, depriving the public of its right to follow the money.

In a strongly worded statement, Gleason notes that “John Callahan’s decision to improperly use funds from his mayoral campaign to support his bid for congress is wrong. Not only did John Callahan and his campaign violate the law by using funds from his mayoral committee to support his congressional bid, they failed to even alert the FEC of the expenditures. By doing so, John Callahan and his congressional campaign have knowingly misled both the FEC and the people of the 15th Congressional District, all in a weak attempt to pad his congressional campaign coffers. I hope the FEC addresses these issues immediately and that John Callahan takes responsibility for his actions.”

Callahan has apparently learned a few tricks from Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who routinely thumbs his nose at campaign finance disclosure laws. But on a federal level, it's harder to get away with deceiving the public.

Gleason has asked for an immediate investigation. A copy of his complaint with the FEC will be loaded later today or tomorrow.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

when this charge proves to be unfounded and completely within the bounds of the rules can we expect to see a correction from you?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, back schilling for the Dent machine I see. Charlie must be worried if they have to send out constant attacks against innocuous campaign procedures on a nearly daily basis.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:22,

It's pretty clear. Callahan used his state mayoral committee to pay for research on his congressional race. His own campaign manager, of all people, is quoted bragging about that.

Callahan not only commingled his state and federal treasuries, but deceived the public by failing to reveal the $10k he spent for opposition research on his congressional race.

It's what I'd expect from a mayor who can't follow an ordinance requiring city council approval before spending $335k in casino money.

Anonymous said...

Dent's record is so poor that he is trying to gin something up in order to take the spotlight off himself. Note to Dent and all....We need Jobs, Healthcare and did I mention Jobs...

Oh! and thank you for the hike in utility rates I love to pay more for the same.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:27,

Schilling is a pitcher. It's shilling, damn it.

A shill is a person who poses as a cusytomer in order to draw people into a gambling house. Who does that sound like?

Constant attacks? Callahan has set up an "independent" blog, manned by three partisan democrats, pretty much for the express purpose of toppling Dent. In the paast week alone, four blogs have been posted there, slamming him. One of them deceptively uses a Callahan news release without bothering to tell readers.

This blog is pretty much telling people that a complaint againt Callahan has been made with the FEC, and why.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can file a complaint

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:36,

Why are you repeating the talking points being mentioned on another blog? Do you have any original ideas?

This blog is about Callahan's attempt to deceive the public concerning his congressional expenses.

The next thing I'd like to know is how the hell he can have all those office supplies when he lists nothing for rent. Another in-kind contribution not reported?

Who is giving Callahan office space? What does he want in return? Is it one of thre usual pay to players?

Anonymous said...

Come on lets be honest... you don't like Callahan and you have been writing up negative pieces on him for the sole purposes of propelling a failing Dent campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Dent's record is so poor that he is trying to gin something up in order to take the spotlight off himself."

Whether Dent's record is poor or not is debatable, but at least you know his record. Callahan, by contrast, has hidden from issues. Dent leads from the front, and like all leaders, makes decisions that might be unpopluar. But he makes them while Callahan can't even tell his own council or the FEC what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

Let me point this out in the 7 years of service Dent has given he has yet to pass a balanced budget. While Callahan as mayor for 6 years passed 6 balanced budgets. Where is your write up about that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:48,

Actually, I have nothing against Callahan. I like the guy and am told he has a good sense of humor. But he's not ready for prime time, and other Democrats have told him that. He should have listened to them.

Instead, he looked at the Obama victory and thought he could slip in by just announcing he's a Democrat, but it's not going to happen.

He can't manage city finances. he can't even manage his own expense reports, deceiving both public and council. He is not ready.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"While Callahan as mayor for 6 years passed 6 balanced budgets"

Dent does not prepare the budget. That's the president's job, and the feds do not have to have balanced budgets. But Callahan's budgets are by no means balanced. the city is drowning in $298MM in debt, more than Easton or A-town.

If that's what we need in D.C., then God help all of us.

Anonymous said...

he presented 6 balanced budgets - not one of them ended up balanced at the end of the year. It's all lies on paper but in reality there's no money. The city is months behind in paying it's bills. He is robbing peter to pay paul, switching from one account to another - much as he has just done with his campaign funds - the books are so cooked there's nothing left

Anonymous said...

I believe the campaign starts tonight with a campaign kickoff. Charlie is shaking in his boots already and it has not even begun yet.

You think he is leading because you’re following. He is not a leader, has not put his name on anything original to help his constituents in his whole career.

he will be exposed over the next 10months. Only one way to run right?

Anonymous said...

guess that is why he voted against paygo. Nice guy, spend our childrens future and not even be ashamed of it.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will come of this complaint.
Callahan raised money back in late May for his exploratory committee. And in accordance with FEC rules, he did not have to form an official federal committee to do so. No money from his state/mayoral campaign was used.
If it had been used, it would had to have been reported on his mayoral campaign finance report. I am surprised Bernie does not have a copy of that posted here. (My guess is that Bernie has it, but it will prove that Callahan did nothing wrong).

Anonymous said...

This Orloski/Bennett/Callahan/Doe/Whoever candidacy is a joke. He'll be the next sacrificial lamb - if Charlie gets to the general. He'll have a much tougher primary battle than he will against the next f-ing retard (Rahm Emanuel's words, not mine) the Ds send up.

Anonymous said...

hear JC is writting a new book entitled "Cooking the Books, Lessons in Back Door Fiscal Mismanagement"

A must read for all pols

Anonymous said...

And this differs how, exactly, from Cunningham's funnelling of$72,000 from his governor's campaign war chest to two candidates for county commissioner?

Anonymous said...

Great post Bernie. Just looked at the campaign disclosures and the website for the "opposition research" firm. This looks pretty cut and dry like an illegal use of campaign funds. While this may be the first misuse of campaign funds (reported) by Callahan, the amount of city funds being misused is long and growing longer but the day.

Anonymous said...

both from the same rancid cloth handed down from their coheart in crime fast eddie

PA progressive said...

Bernie John likely doesn't yet have an office. I'll check on that for you. He has no need to incur all that expense as yet.

You should be more careful about making definitive statements based only on someone's letter of complaint. You were a lawyer once weren't you? You're leaving yourself wide open on this one.

There can be no violation for expenses incurred before filing with the FEC as a federal candidate. You might want to check when those funds were expended and when he filed with the FEC. It should all be available online.

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to get a quote from Callahan's campaign manager? Im curious as to what level of retreat mode he is in right now. He is quoted admitting his boss commited a federal election law violation. You'd think with bringing in a Washington "hired gun", you would at least get someone with a strong knowledge of federal campaign laws.

Anonymous said...

whatever

Anonymous said...

PA Progressive,
Before the typical Bernie bashing begins, maybe you should check your facts. Just because you havent filed for federal office, doesnt mean that there are no federal restrictions on how you raise and spend campaign money. Check out the complaint on the pagop.org website (as much as I imagine it will pain you to do so). This is a pretty easy to spot violation.

PA progressive said...

I checked the records. One expenditure was made May 6 and another June 22. Both well before he filed as a candidate with the FEC and both while running for re-election for Mayor, therefore entirely legal. I have a call into John about the office but I assume he's been using his home as there's no need for an office as yet.

Anonymous said...

I see Dent and Millan sent O'Hare the latest press release.

Anonymous said...

Constant attacks? Callahan has set up an "independent" blog, manned by three partisan democrats, pretty much for the express purpose of toppling Dent. In the paast week alone, four blogs have been posted there, slamming him. One of them deceptively uses a Callahan news release without bothering to tell readers.

You've got to be kidding me. Now you have the balls to come out and say another blog is set up to campaign for Callahan simply because they post what half of us already believe - that Dent is a tool for big corporate America and a career politician who is part of the problem in Washington.

How many "blogs" (that's a collective term, BTW, not a singular - I think you are looking for "post") have YOU posted for the sincere purpose of blasting Callahan to benefit Dent? Weekly. You even print their press releases word for word and then allow the cronies to post attacks in the comments section.

You have balls to be so goddam hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

"I checked the records... Both well before he filed as a candidate with the FEC and both while running for re-election for Mayor, therefore entirely legal."

You obviously havent read the entire complaint or checked the law they cited. Filing for federal office (or getting a campaign office) isnt the starting point for restrictions on how you raise and spend money. There are limitations on the activities you can do leading up to filing. I know this is going to be hard for you, but you need to actually look at the complaint, and maybe even look at FEC rules to double check.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Who could the L.V. Dems convinced to run against Mr. Dent.Mr. Callahan gets free press coverage and seems to have a L.V. name and presents himself as a non-hostile candidate.Who else could the L.V. Dem's have selected.

PA progressive said...

Fact: Callahan was running for re-election as Mayor.

Fact: he engaged this company on May 6th 2009, well before he even was convinced to run for Congress

Fact: He did report office rents on his FEC report

Fact: Bernie specifically accused him of wrongdoing based on nothing more than someone's accusation. That could very well be libel.

Fact: spending state money while running for an in state office IS legal

Fact: candidates do research on themselves all the time, no responsible candidate does not

Anonymous said...

Fact: Spending state campaign money for a federal campaign is illegal.

Fact: He employed an opposition research firm to test the waters for a federal run.

Fact: His FEDERAL campaign manager even said so.

Fact: He ran UNOPPOSED for Mayor (meaning it doesnt pass the laugh test that it was for his Mayor campaign).

Fact: Truth is the best defense for libel.

Anonymous said...

Dent wins in a walk. Ds look to lose both houses of Congress. The rats are jumping ship. Callahan's a good soldier without the slightest chance. Sam The Rake Bennett would fare better.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10PM,

O'Hare's definitive and unqualified claim that "Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan finds himself in hot water with the Federal Elections Commission" is decidedly untrue, given that the complaint was filed today. How can Callahan be in "hot water" if there's no chance the complaint has even been processed?

Point of reference: the FEC recently fined Arlen Specter's 2004 committee $10,000 for accepting contributions above the legal limit. It took them six years to reach this decision, but O'Hare expects us to believe that Callahan is immediately in deep trouble because a partisan organization filed a complaint today?

Btw, I don't recall hearing a peep about Specter's fine on this blog. Seems campaign finance laws don't matter if you're one of O'Hare's favorties.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10PM,

O'Hare's definitive and unqualified claim that "Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan finds himself in hot water with the Federal Elections Commission" is decidedly untrue, given that the complaint was filed today. How can Callahan be in "hot water" if there's no chance the complaint has even been processed?

Point of reference: the FEC recently fined Arlen Specter's 2004 committee $10,000 for accepting contributions above the legal limit. It took them six years to reach this decision, but O'Hare expects us to believe that Callahan is immediately in deep trouble because a partisan organization filed a complaint today?

Btw, I don't recall hearing a peep about Specter's fine on this blog. Seems campaign finance laws don't matter if you're one of O'Hare's favorites.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm more interested in current violations, not stuff that 6 yeears old.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie John likely doesn't yet have an office. I'll check on that for you. He has no need to incur all that expense as yet."

If he has no office, then why all the expenditures for office supplies?

And Pa Pro, by the way, I stand by every word written here. Fed'l campaign finance laws exist to enable the public to follow the money. Callahan used his state committee to fund the criminal investigation he had performed on himself, and thus the public was never told Callahan spent approximately $10k to research ... himself. Moreover, the state fund he used was used illegally.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pa Pro, I would appreciate it if you could tell me where Callahan's campaign office is located and how rent is being paid. I hope we do not have yet another in-kind contribution that Callahan is hiding from the public.

Anonymous said...

the books are still being cooked in bethlehem. hope they don't owe you any money

Anonymous said...

Does Gleason even have standing to bring such a complaint? He does not live in the 15th.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight:

An FEC ruling and subsequent fine against Arlen Specter for accepting illegal contributions during his last campaign is deemed unworthy of being discussed, even though Specter is currently up for reelection, has been in federal office for nearly 30 years, and really should know better than to do such things...

But John Callahan, a first-time federal candidate, is condemned on the sole basis of allegations made in a politically-motivated complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party, a complaint that no-one in the FEC has likely even read?

So much for innocent until proven guilty.

CUCKOO!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:01,

You don't really have it straight. What is going on with Callahan is much more immediate than what is going on with Specter. Also, as the races get bigger, I tend to give them less scrutiny because there are plenty of wonks who do that. Perhaps I should. Finally, although this information comes from a biased source, it is very clear that Callahan used money from his mayoral campaign to fuind his congressional race. It is equally clear that he failed to report it.

I'm sure the fact that this is Callahan's first ever run for Congress will be sconsidered in mitigation of whatever fine is imposed. it will also be considered when people decide who they want in Congress - a proven leader or someone who hides his finances from the public.

If that makes me cuckoo, I'll gladly wear the label.

Anonymous said...

I bet you'll find Callahan's campaign office when you find his position on health care...

Anonymous said...

and the $335k in casino cash.

Anonymous said...

Why not check with the Sands casino? Callahan spends enough time there to have an office.

Anonymous said...

All that's clear is John Callahan's Mayoral campaign committee spent money in mid-2009 to do research on John Callahan. Callahan was running for re-election as Mayor at the time, and it's not unusual for candidates to run background checks on themselves. Despite all of your definitive statements of Callahan's guilt, the complaint itself is rife with unsupported assumptions and conjecture.

"mitigation of whatever fine is imposed"

Any reasonable reader would conclude from this statement that Callahan is certain to be fined. How can you possibly know this when the complaint was filed today? How can you factually state that Callahan is in "hot water" with the FEC when no investigation is even taking place?

Finally, how can you state that Callahan "hides his finances from the public" when the expenditures are clearly stated on his publicly available Pennsylvania campaign finance reports?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Does Gleason even have standing to bring such a complaint? He does not live in the 15th."

Considering that Dems have run candidates for this seat that do not even live in the 15th, I'd say yes, he has standing.

Anonymous said...

"Callahan was running for re-election as Mayor at the time, and it's not unusual for candidates to run background checks on themselves."

Callahan was running unopposed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:26, I can say this with some certainty bc the facts are so clear. As far as deceiving the public is concerned, he did that, too. He disguised a federal expense as a state expense, and thus deprived people following his federal campaign the opportunity to follow the money.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:30pm,

So what? He was still a candidate for the office and needed to win election to retain stay in office. Write-in candidates have defeated scandal plagued nominees in the past, including as recently as last November with George Washburn in Williams Township. Whether or not spending $10,000 on such research was prudent is debatable (unlike Callahan's guilt or innocence, according to O'Hare), but it was money Callahan had and decided to spend in order to secure his re-election.

Anonymous said...

Again, O'Hare, you have no evidence that the background check wasn't used by Callahan's Mayoral campaign. Everything that you state as fact and claim is "clear," is nothing more than conjecture slapped together by you and the PA GOP.

Last I checked, the FEC is the relevant body here, not the Court of Cuckoo, and it has not even opened an investigation. Your repeated assertions that Callahan is definitely guilty and is certain to be fined are absolutely reckless and possibly defamatory. I can't believe what a fool you've made of yourself.

Anonymous said...

500 strong at Callahan's spaghetti petition signing kickoff campaign. People were waiting outside to enter but could'nt because the place was full. Jimmy Spang had to direct traffic outside as there were people trying to get in. And this is in Dent's backyard. Any wonder Bernie has kicked up the bull shit on Callahan, because Dent is scared. Dent has made a robo call every week for the last six weeks to talk to his constituents and guess what, you punch number 1 and wait for 59 minutes and than they tell you their out of time. Sounds like a ploy for the phone companies to make money. And Charlie dent voted against the stimulus but continues to show up cutting ribbons where the stimulus money is being put in place. Talk about a hypocrite. Your either for it or agin it Charlie Dent. What is it?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:43

His campaign manager even said publicly it was to get ready for a federal bid.

This stinks too much to cover up or try and divert attention.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gee, once again, someone is repeating yet another talking poinmt from a supposedly "independent" blog.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:51, you forgot to blame Bush somewhere in your post. That is page #1 in the playbook.

Anonymous said...

O'Hare,

What "talking point" is that? As I write this, there's no report of tonight's Callahan petition signing event on the LV Independent. God, you can't even keep your lies straight these days.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The "independent" Callahan blog just ran a piece about Charlie being against and for the stim, and amazingly, you're repeating it here. Do you have any original thoughts or are you just bleating away like you're told?

Anonymous said...

So I'm not allowed to criticize Dent's lousy record as a legislator and incredible hypocrisy on the Stimulus bill because you don't believe it qualifies as an independent thought?

Cuckoo!

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that Ohare is so worked up over hiding in-kind contributions.

His idol John Stoffa has hid all the funds Abe Atiyeh used to construct those massive Stoffa signs.

Bernie has said no way but the facts speak for themselves. If you are an Ohare mancrush you slide by.

Remember this all, at the end of the day this is no factual getting at the truth blog. It is a partisan blog run by a demented dis-barred attorney with major addiction and cross dressing problems.

I mean really folks, seriously???

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, you can be as mindless as you want, and parrot the latest talking points. Squak away!

Anonymous said...

Btw, Boonie,

You've told us repeatedly that Callahan's running the LV Independent. Do you have proof of this or is it just one of your famous hunches, like the time you told Lucille White she was definitely going to get $19million from the federal government?

Anonymous said...

"Considering that Dems have run candidates for this seat that do not even live in the 15th, I'd say yes, he has standing."

Did you use your legal degree to come to that answer?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone find out what the money was actually spent on?

Was it hookers and drugs after all?

Or did it go into a secret slush fund somewhere for future use as a bribe or kickback for a lucky Democrat down the road?

Where did the $ 300,000 of unauthorized expenditures actually go?

I hear that Bethlehem City Council actually has said the money was spent on 'proper' things even if it was spent without permission.

But what is the definition of 'proper'?

Going to Vegas and putting it all on 67 Black at the roulette wheel?

Did it go to Mary Landrieu's Louisiana Purchase?

Or to develop bike trails somewhere?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:00AM, I find it questionable that someone who posts such libelous statments does so without using his name. You posted the same nonsense about Drugs and Hookers yesterday as well. If you have evidence of these things or even credible reason to believe this is a possiblity, why not be forthright enough to stand by your accusations with your name?

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is rich. One anon is demanding that another anon identify himself. Good luck with that!

Anonymous said...

Did you find the statements from the Callahan campaign as interesting as I did?

"After Callahan decided to run for Congress (partly based on the information), the congressional campaign had to pay for it, Schall said, and did so in the first quarter of this year."

This seems to be an indirect admission of guilt and now they are trying to clean up in subsequent reports. If they had to make payments to this firm from the federal account, wouldnt they have had to (at least) report the initial amounts as well, if not pay for the original amounts out of the federal account? Seems like Callahan just got in way over his head.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree. He decided to run a long time ago, and the payment should have been reflected in his first quarterly report. Callahan's crackerjack campaign manager basically just admitted that his boss screwed up. I believe you will find Callahan's payment to be made right around the same time Gleason filed his complaint.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hey Pa Pro,

Any word on that office yet? Are they brushing you off, too?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bernie, but one was not making unfounded accusations. Big difference. If you are going to make such inflamatory statements as the first Anon did, you should feel confident enough in what your saying to use your name. If not, then you shouldn't say it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll agree it is inflammatory, but not defamatory by a long shot. I'll also agree comments have more value when a name is attached.

I think the commenter was trying to make a point, that point being that Callahan has been unaccountable up until now.

Anonymous said...

Poor Poor Charlie, he is still playing games like the minor leaguer he is. Your now up against a real challenger guys, these childish slide of hands, mirror tricks and misdirections wont work. Everything was done legal and everyone knows it.

I wish Dent would focus on the things that matter, creating jobs, healthcare, taking care of our elderly and veterans.

But no, he cares about tanning beds and throwing mud. Tick tock charlie tick tock

Anonymous said...

Breaking campaign finance laws, not taking a position on any substantive national issue, and trying to use a 14 year old vote that received near unanimous support (including the local democrats) as the foundation of a campaign...this is the big leagues? Jeez, i cant wait to see what his rookie mistakes will be.

Rebekah said...

The Lehigh Valley needs a congressional candidate who
keeps an exact list of where he spends his campaign money and on what, will freely publish that list on his website, will gladly answer any questions pertaining to where donors' money is going, will use donors' money expressly for his campaign and not contribute any amount to his favorite political party, will accept contributions only from individuals, not from lobbyists or PACs.
wait! we have that type of candidate! Jake Towne: http://towneforcongress.com/ways-to-help/why-donate

Anonymous said...

9:46

If Callahan spends money without authorization as Mayor, what will he do as a Congressman?

BTW - what WAS the money spent, WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION on?

PS - still not intimidated, but it is flattering to see you are still trying hard.

Anonymous said...

10:43

Good luck trying to tell me what to do.

Anonymous said...

10:43

For YOUR FREE copy of the United States Constitution, please contact:

https://secure.heritage.org/PocketConstitutions/?src=first

-----------------------

I have no idea where to refer you so you can learn what this symbol --- ? --- actually means.

Sorry (actually, no, I am not)

Anonymous said...

10:43

What was Callahan doing spending money WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION in the first place?

Are Democrats too good or something for regulations?

Are Democrats above the law?

Slander and libel that.

Anonymous said...

Hey pig pen you malodorous haze is here!

Donald said...

So you are taking a complaint filed by the chair of the State GOP seriously - stay tuned chair of State Dems files complaint against some Republican. They are trying to cause a distraction and bad press - and you think it has merit, you really are in the tank - Well this will be fun - looking forward to it.
Were you at the Callahan event?

Will look for your response only it you think it is worth your time

Bernie O'Hare said...

Donald, I missed it. I instead went to see who LC Comm'rs would appoint to replace Bill Leiner. My first love is always the local stuff. I think that it has a bigger impact on our daily lives. Otherwise, I would have been there for the free pasta. I heard it was a very nice affair.

Anonymous said...

Why weren't you in Church Ohare, it was Ash Wednesday.