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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pennsylvania's Green Congressional Candidates Were Funded by Republicans

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingRemember Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli? He's the chucklehead who let big money Republicans pour $66,000 into his ultimately unsuccessful quest for ballot access in Pennylvania's November 7 race for the U.S. Senate. Our draconian election laws are clearly designed to keep minor party candidates off the ballot. But two wrongs don't make a right. Romanelli thumbed his nose at a Green Party ideal that politics should be driven by grassroots, not big money. He sacrificed principle for expediency, and still failed. Served him right. But it may interest you to know that four Congressional Green candidates did the same thing. And guess what? They're the only Greens on the ballot. One of them is our very own "Queen" Greta Browne, who's running for Congress against Charlie Dent and Charles Dertinger.

The Johns

How did Republicans do this? Not directly. They funneled money through the Green Party of Luzerne County. Some of the johns who prostituted Green party candidates include Lehigh Valley bigwigs. Let's list them.

Charles Snelling, venture capitalist, Fogelsville ($1,000);
Anthony Salvaggio, Computer Aid, Allentown ($1,000);
Walter & Marjorie Buckley, hedge funds, Bethlehem ($2,000) ;and
William Grube, nightvision, Fogelsville ($5,000).

Green party contributors? Sure. I see them at LEPOCO all the time. Snelling wanted to be one of the Dent Nine.

The Hookers?

Four Congressional Greens sold their souls. Luzerne County's Green Party made payments on their behalf for "polling" and "ballot access" in its FEC Report. Let's list them, too.

Dave Baker, progressive activist and chess instructor in Philly's 2d District ($4,234);
Titus North, college professor in Pittsburgh's 14th District ($3,811);
Derf Maitland, bookstore owner in Adams County's 19th District ($32,390); and
Greta Browne, Queen of the Lehigh Valley Greens in the 15th District ($200).

Just $200 for Greta? I'd insist on a dinner, too.

I spoke with one of these "progressives," Titus North. He spoke vaguely of an informal arrangement in which Romanelli had promised Green congressionals $2 per signature over the July 4 holiday. North admits depositing two checks from the Luzerne County Green Party in his personal account, and one of his petition workers was also compensated. He knew this money was coming from Republicans, although he didn't know specifically that donors included the likes of a military contractor and a Haliburton subsidiary. It was blood money.

It is often said that prostitution is a victimless crime. But we're all victims in this Green party charade in which Congressional candidates pocket money from the special interests they pretend to hate. Among his final words to me, Titus North said, "We didn't do anything illegal."

Spoken just like any Republican or Democrat.

Afternoon Update: Will Bunch's blog at The Philadelphia Daily News, Attytood, has more on the "appalling sell-out of the Pennsylvania Green Party." Big money Republicans have now funneled over $150 thousand to Pennsylvania Greens through the Luzerne County Green Party. Part of this dough comes from the founder of Blackwater USA, "the shadowy, Virginia-based soldier-for-hire company with roots in the U.S. military intelligence community."

Bunch also notes this blood money was used to support all four Greens running for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania. "Republicans -- desperate not to lose control of the U.S. House, and with Pennsylvania the key swing state -- may be using the Green Party again to rob votes from the Democrats."

I liked Greens much better when they had ethics.


LVDem said...

Soul selled... party discredited

Bernie O'Hare said...

We know that Romanelli was using this blood money, but I had no idea that this money was also used for Green party candidates in Pa trying to get on the ballot for Congress. At first, I thought these Congressional Greens were unaware that these payments were made on their behalf. I learned otherwise when I spoke last night to Titus North, the Pittsburgh Green.

I don't believe any newspaper has covered this issue. At the time Romanelli was trying to get on the ballot, I don't think it was widely known that money was being funneled to Congressional greens via the Luzerne County Green party. But the facts are the facts.

Anonymous said...

Lay off Greta Browne. You're being ridiculous trying to paint her as a Republican plant.

She got $200 from who? The state Green Party?

You know what $200 buys you in a Congressional race? A mention in a blog.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Sad very sad. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Greens have sold out for a few bucks. Blackwater money funneled thru the Luzerne Greens so we wouldn't know. It's disgusting. I wonder how many people died for that money. Some green party, unless you mean the color of the money.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 2:20, Republicans back greens whose policies are diametrically opposed to their own.
And that's a reason to lay off Greta?

How about criticizing the fraud directed towards garnering a Republican victory. Hey, it's only Blackwater.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon 2:20, It is not just Greta Browne, although she needs to explain this blood money. There are three other Green congressional candidates who sold their soul.

Incidentally, this incident has now been mentioned on three blogs, and I suspect the mainstream media will be interested in Greens raking in $150k from the like of Blackwater, lobbyists and war profiteers.

I don't blame the Republicans for doing this. I do blame Greens for letting themselves be used.

Balllot access laws must be changed, but this is no answer.

Jeff Pooley said...

Really impressive sleuthing here Bernie...

Anonymous said...

If the republicans are wasting their money on planting greens in the deepiest reddiest areas of pa we shouldn't complain. The last time the Pa 19th congressional district was in play it was because the reform party had drawn off almost 30% of the republican vote. I had good laugh when i saw how much they spent on Derf Maitland, 32k on a race no democrat has any chance of winning unless his name is Zell miller the last time a democrat won that seat LBj was president and he won almost every district in the country. IN fact the Last Democrat to hold the seat Died last about a Month or so ago in his 90's. Neiman Craley. Please Republicans waste your money how about giving money to a green in the pa 9th district or 5th district. Ha ha ha ha

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, Thanks, but I just stumbled into this while doing research on Congressional finance. I report Browne got $200 but now realize she actually got much more because these the Luzerne Greens made "coordinated expenditures" that would benefit several congressional greens and there were several reports. I'll correct this tomorrow in a small post. All told, big money Republicans funded Greens seeking congressional seats with over $150,000. That's three times as much money as Dertinger was able to rake in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:40, Thanks for your comments. The 5th & 9th Districts have no Grens on the ballot. But let me correct a mistake I made. Although the sums mentioned were attributed to Derf Maitland, it was actually a "coordinated expenditure" and intended to benefit all four of the congressional greens. Thus Browne didn't really just get $200. And Maitland doesn't really have 32k. I'll have a post about this tomorrow.

Although the Greens have sold out, I do agree this is a colossal waste of money. Lots of dough was spent for "administrative expenses" and car rentals. Some people were living large.

But as a former Green, I must tell you I'm disgusted by this latest hypocrisy. This is the party that once promoted grassroots democracy. Now it takes money from the founder of Blackwater USA. It appears the end justifies the means.

Anonymous said...

No the comment was one of general sarcaism those are the only two districts other districts in pa that are even more republican leaning than the 19th. In 2005 the main county in the 19th congressional district elected a convicted sexual preditor as major of one of the boros and an embezzler county controlled even after the media ran stories about it for months before the election simply because they had an R next to their name.

Anonymous said...

opps that should have been Mayor not major.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:01 & 9:02, Those are requirements for public office in the Lehigh Valley, no matter what the party.

Anonymous said...

I know Carl Romanelli personally. He is an old-time Democrat from Luzerne County. He tried to get me to join the Greens here, so he could give me bad advice and keep me away from the Democratic party, which is in control of Luzerne County.
Didn't work - not only did I remain non-partisan, but I was able to see right through Carl (didn't help that a source very close to him said he was in the County Commissioner's Office begging for a job) and keep goin' with what I do(I stood in the voting booth in November 2005 for 20 minutes to protest the election laws - that was an attention getter, let me tell you). Many of the ruling elite here (Murray Ufberg & Co.) especially liked the idea of Carl being on the ballot because he would have taken of few votes from Casey and helped to keep Santorum in there. Santorum votes for Israels funding to continue, and all is well in Luzerne County.
Trust me, been here a while, done the research.
Peace - T.G.

Anonymous said...

NO Comments about any subject.


T & T

Anonymous said...

rob the republicans! it isn't like any of the greens are out running on conservative republican slogans. it is no fault to thet third parties who are perceived to be 'spoilers' by the 2 elite parties.
oh, and how about blood money? how about hillary? how about obama? how about our local republican and democrats? i guess larger sums of money from big business is nothing compared to the smaller money that the greens may get.
ralph nader took money from hat major lawsuit he won and started a bunch of watchdog groups--but i guess any money coming from dirty hands is off limits?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sam, you're a little late on this one. I came down on greens, a party I once belonged to, because they were doing exactly what the major parties do.