What Morning Call Sources Say
From The Morning Call story, we know that they are relying on anonymous sources (that's plural). I have just one. Their sources say that Fleck recorded meetings with his customers and with Mayor Edwin Pawlowski.
What My Source Says
- Fleck was wired for 90 days.
- He recorded conversations for at least 30 fund raisers and over 100 meetings.
- They have many hours of taped conversation.
- They know where he is in Georgia, and it's within spitting distance of a field office.
They are shaking the trees to see if any ripe apples fall.
This also tells me three things about their case. First, it is very much a pay-to-play investigation, and is looking into Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Reading Mayor Spencer Vaughn. Second, the FBI insisted that Fleck wear a wire because recordings will corroborate what he says when he testifies. Finally, by using a bad guy to get other bad guys, they are possibly setting up a defense of entrapment for some targets.
The Ruchlewicz connection
I also learned yesterday that in April, feds were visiting neighbors of Sam Ruchlewicz, a Fleck partner at his business consulting firm. His Twitter account states, "Government, Politics, Business -- They all meet with me."
That might be one of his problems.
You see, in addition to acting as a political consultant for candidates seeking elected office, Fleck also acted as a "consultant" for private businesses seeking an inside track with the very people that Fleck would help elect.
Though there is no law barring this practice, Common Cause Pa Exec Director Barry Kauffman warned that it invites mischief.
"What you have to be cautious about, in this case the campaign manager is obviously a very influential person. ... The mayor needs to be cautious the campaign manager doesn't try to influence public policy decisions and serve as a conduit for major businesses who end up being campaign donors."Fleck told The Morning Call that he keeps his business and political consulting in two different worlds, a point that was confirmed by Mayor Edwin Pawlowski.
But a campaign finance report filed by the Citizens For a Greater Reading PAC.tells a completely different story.
First, it was filed by Ruchlewicz, who was supposed to be in the business, and not political, consulting world.
Second, the $33,260 in contributions include people with no connection to Reading. Why would Sean Kilkenny, who is running for Sheriff in Montgomery County, donate $5,000 to a reading-based PAC? Why would Abe Atiyeh, who had hired Fleck and Ruchlewicz as business consultants, donate $2,000 to a reading PAC?
Third, business consultant Ruchlewicz walked away with $1,200. Fleck's H Street Strategies' take was $10,000, nearly a third of the money contributed.
Major businesses with City and NIZ contracts have been big campaign contributors. J.B. Reilly, Sean Boyle and Abe Atiyeh bankrolled a Pawlowski and Fleck inspired effort to get rid of Mayor Ed Hozza in Allentown,
The business and political consulting obviously merged.