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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pawlowski: My Campaign Contributions Attract Business

Here's how Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski amazingly justifies his "pay to play" campaign contributions during a recent debate (you can see the video here):

"Throughout the course of the last several years, I've been able to get a lot of support from businesses and people who do business in the area. We've been totally transparent about the support we've received. In fact, I'm the only candidate who publishes online with the state so anyone can look at all our records and look at all the donations we've been able to receive and it shows there's a lot of support for this administration and for me as Mayor from the business community.

"I'm thankful for that support. It helps us attract more businesses to the community and that openness and transparency will be something I will continue over the course of the next four years."

Here's the truth. Pennsylvania's campaign finance reports fail to show Pawlowski's 2005 campaign or any of the monies he's collected so far this year. He's been anything but transparent. King Ed is good at soliciting campaign funds. But he stonewalls at filing reports that enable the public to follow the money.

In 2007, for example, Pawlowski paid $270, the maximum fine under our toothless elections laws, for filing a late report. He actually attempted to get away with using campaign funds for his penalty. Voting Registrar Stacy Sterner ordered Pawlowski, in March, to pay the fine out of his own pocket.

In 2008, King Edwin was even more deceptive. He filed a bogus report on October 24, 2008, falsely claiming his coffers were empty. He was ordered to amend his report and guess what? Instead of of the goose egg originally claimed, Pawlowski actually raised $101,599 in just the first ten months of 2008, nearly as much money as in 2006 and 2007 combined.

Under his reign, it's become very obvious that Allentown is for sale. His "pay to play" pals include City Line Construction (see blog posted 3/10/08), Malcom Gross' law firm (see blog posted 3/5/08); Nic Zawarski & Son (see blog posted 3/18/08); Allentown DCED Director Joyce Marin (see blog posted 1/16/09); Allentown Brew Works principal Michael Fegley (see blog posted 2/10/09); Philadelphia law firm Cozen O'Connor (see blog posted 6/24/09); and used car dealer Bennett Toyota (see blog posted 6/24/09).

As a brilliant piece of investigative journalism by The Morning Call's Jarrett Renshaw makes abundantly clear, Hizzoner's campaign finances clearly reveal an appearance of impropriety. Pawlowski, who incredibly admits using business cards supplied by city vendors to solicit campaign contributions, goes on to claim he's still acting ethically because he graduated from bible college.

Now he's claiming that all these donations attract more businesses. I have no doubt about that. Under King Edwin's reign, Allentown is for sale.


Anonymous said...

Does Ed even know the depth of his own corruption or is he living in a world of his own creation(facilitated by local and state Democrat leaders) where he is a good man and a competent mayor?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Will candidates be filing campaign reports, prior to general election. If ED files timely,Ibet it will show pay to play by ed with contributions from vendors that received business thru bid and no bid contracts. I believe that when he says he attractsnew business to allentown, he meant that vendors are coming to allentown to pay him for the no bid contracts, land and builings. did i read in the morning call that a contributor to ed bought a building for 5000 that cost city two hundred thousand and then edrewarded him with tax abatement for ten years. that is what you get in return when you pay ed you get to play. How man more. need a state investigation.

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom said...

The Mayor sold his soul long ago. Tony Phillips sold his and got nothing for it.
The only difference between the two is Ed is getting a better ROI.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - it is play and then pay.

You get awarded a city contract, then he shakes you down for a contribution.

Cannot believe phillips has not made this an issue, could easily far overshadows bucky bolye and myspace, this is real corruption!!

Anonymous said...

Look for Mayor to go on a overseas trip th day after filing his campaign reports as to dodge questions by phillips,Bernie and the press. Trip possibly paid by one of his supporters.

Chris Casey said...

Man, the amount of despair I am getting from the people I know in allentown is disheartening.

You folks really understand how far behind the eight ball you are.

This is the way ALL POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS work anymore. It is the only way to be successful.

I detest it, but it is reality.

I would hope for the best, but if lived in Allentown I would prepare for the worst.

Anonymous said...

Nice tux the Mayor is wearing in the picture. who paid for it.

Anonymous said...

Four more years!!! Of corruption and lies.

Hey bernie- where is your superstar reporter pal at the Call, Jared renshaw.

a third grader with any sense could go to the court house and get a list of palowski's contributers and then bounce these off the list of those awarded city contracts, particularly sole-source contracts this would be some real investigative reporting!!

Or maybe you could do it bernie!! Show us the sources of PLAY AND PAY

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Will candidates be filing campaign reports, prior to general election"

They are due Friday. Pawlowski will file his at the last second.

ironpigpen said...

I live in Allentown

It sucks, no question

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This is the way ALL POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS work anymore. It is the only way to be successful."

I have seen no one in all my years who takes more advantage of this system than Pawlowski. I'm sorry, but most elected officials i know do not make appointments to see vendors at fundraisers. Most of them do not collect business cards from vendors so they can hit them up. Some of them, like Mayo Sal panto, refuse to take PAC money. A few, like Stoffa, refuse anything.

Philadelphia has limits. Allentown has some ethics committee that has been meeting since Jarrett Renshaw's expose.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"where is your superstar reporter pal at the Call, Jared renshaw"

He's the one who broke this story.

Anonymous said...

To make matters worse, the average City resident has no idea how Pawlowksi pushed through the ballot referendum to raise the ceiling on no-bid contracts. Now King Ed is in an even better position to award contracts and collect those business cards in City Hall.

Anonymous said...

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom said "The Mayor sold his soul long ago. Tony Phillips sold his and got nothing for it.
The only difference between the two is Ed is getting a better ROI."

Soccer Mom -

I have no idea if you live in Allentown, but you appear to be trying to draw some sort of "moral relativism" between the two candidates.

While Phillips may have used poor judgement in a personal matter, the Mayor is using his position to solicit contributions for doling out taxpayer (our) monies.

As a previous poster mentioned, that's real corruption.

And while Ed is collecting campaign cash from city vendors, Ed is lying to the taxpayers and the city is going to hell.

Attend one of Ed's campaign stops and he will boast of the surplus he created - even though his "blue ribbon" panel is trying to find ways to balance the budget and plug the DEFICIT.

You'll also hear that crime is down, despite the fact the city's murder rates have been at record levels and that we all seem to know someone who has been robbed, burglarized or assaulted.

He claims our neighborhoods are improving while our quality of life has deteriorated to the point where many people are afraid to leave their homes after dark.

He claims to have created hundreds or thousands of jobs while the numbers show the income of residents to be plummeting.

Ed is either delusional or a weasly liar. I suspect both are true. Either way, the city cannot afford 4 more years of Pawlowski after the 8 we've already had (4 as CED director, 4 as Mayor).

The city is clearly on the wrong path.

Anonymous said...


Tony probably won't file his at all and there is no crime in turning it in at the last minute. Check out your friend Cunningham who got $25,000 from Al Boscov and then supported the Boscov's bailout. Casey is right. They all take money and it sucks. Come up with publically funded campaigns and it would be better.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you talk of corruption what about someone who was kicked out of his profession for being unethical. YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:14, That should make me an expert.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:12,

They do not ALL do it. Most do it. But nobody has done it to the extent of Pawlowski. Cunningham raised more money, true, but he was running for Governor. Even $10 thousand contributions are chump change in that kind of race.

Pawlowski is in a class all by himself. I have never seen any local politician press and squeeze so hard for money from contractors and vendors, even during off years, even during a recession. I agree we need to reform the way campaigns are funded.

I am not alleging criminal behavior by Pawlowski. I call it legal bribery. And it's true that a last-minute report is still legal. But when someone waits until the last minute to file, and only files the bare minimum required by law, I do not consider that person transparent, especially when the Registrar orders him to amend his report twice in two years.

This pernicious influence of money does create a culture of corruption in which real crime is possible. In a one-party city like Allentown, there's real cause for concern.

When he claims his campaign coffers attract business, and those are his words, what is he saying? It sure sounds like he's telling us Allentown is for sale. It sure sounds like he's suggesting a link between donations and city good will.

Resident of Allentown said...

So where can I go to get Phillips and Hershman signs?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You can leave a message for Lou at his business, 610.821.0191.

The Phillips' campaign can be reached at 610) 351-WORK(9675).

Chris Casey said...

If you want to attend my 5 minute seminar, "How to make political enemies in under five minutes" stop by City Council chambers tomorrow night and watch me during courtesy of the floor.
The City Parks department has really pissed me off, and City Council is going to hear about it.
Maybe I could make up a big cardboard check and try and pass it off before speaking?

Anonymous said...

Bernie -renshaw "broke" the story, but no follow up. This is one of the biggest stories of corruption in Valley history. Yeah sure, they all do it, but this guy is the master shake done artist, chicago style, everything is quid pro quo with this guy, no exceptions!

Why not a line-by-line, name by name of the Play and Payers, and the dollar amount of the contracts, and the amount they gave.

Phillips should have this on a billboard, and he would win by a landslide.

Also, since Damare, Schlossberg, Connel and guridy were all supported by Paloser in the primary, and some received mailings of support from him, I want to know how they feel about this corruption.

Finally, the city ethics board is a farce, just ask donovan, they may make some changes to the ordinace, but who will enforce it?

Anonymous said...

Bernie - AND we have never talked about Palowski's revenue from his consulting business. How much $$$$$ is he making in adition to the campaign contributions? This is old school Daley-esque. the old man in the mayor's office, the son running the law firm. Ah, maybe there is nothing wrong with getting rich while a public servant. Mayor Heydt's insurance business, run by his son, is rumored to have doubled while he was mayor!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, I'd be there but I'll be watching the Phillies. I have my priorities. :-)

The Village Idoti said...

I am trying to get my fraternal brothers (from Lebanon) to understand baseball. I have them converted into hating the Yankees. So I am half way there.

They ask so many questions that we, as children, learning the games took for granted.

Then there is always that one knuckle-headed brother that thinks the game would be more interesting if the pitcher could bean the batter in the head or if the batter could carry the bat with him onto the bases. And use it to hit the players on defense.

Amazing! And they are going to be priests one day. I can't wait to see their youth groups!

Chris C., give 'em hell!

And, throw Da' Player the ball!

Peace, ~~Alex

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I have them converted into hating the Yankees. So I am half way"

Good man! I am rying to convert my grandson, too, but less successfully. I took him there too many times.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Village Idoti said...

Angry at sin, but not at the sinner.

I will pray for you. Please pray for me. My name is Alex.

And for the record, I hate the Yankees.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ironpigpen said...

Fine priest work, Alex, with the Lebanonese fraternal brothers, installing the proper value system with respect to the New York Yankees.

The sporting attitudes of your one constituent seem to be more suited to ice hockey.

Everyone has a calling, correct?

Perhaps the brother would prefer the Flyers or the Capitals.

The Village Idoti said...

Iron Pig,

You've got a good point. I never thought of that. I know he likes hockey. He is a Red Wings fan.

But here is his mentality. I took him last December with me to a college basketball game at The Verizon Center in D.C. G-Town was playing Memphis. It went into overtime. G-Town won. He booed the entire time we where there.

I was wearing my clericals. He wasn't. I thought we were going to get thrown out. He booed everything. He booed during the warm-ups. He booed during the intros. He booed during the game. He booed the little kids during the half-time show. If there were hot dog vendors, he would have booed them.

I asked him who is rooting for. He said, "Who ever hits those guys with the whistles!"

I said to him what did those little kids do to you? Why did you heckle them. And, there weren't any referees during the intros or half-time show.

He said that he saw someone yelling and thought this was acceptable behavior. Then he said he just wanted to make sure that he got his money's worth for this game.

Maybe he really is a Yankee fan?

ironpigpen said...

"He said he saw someone yelling and thought that was acceptable behavior"

That's an interesting point. As you pointed out before, we take our sports and the culture surrounding it for granted because we grow up with it and along the way learn what one is supposed to do when.

But drop someone in the middle of a new sport and /or culture...I have been on both sides of the coin myself.

Things can get funny sometimes.