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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, May 16, 2016

Waiting For Godot: Governor Tom Wolf

Below are two emails sent to the LV delegation to the Pa. State House as well as Governor Tom Wolf, asking them to support reform proposals that many of you shared in Friday's post, entitled. "What Good Government Reforms Would You Make?" Wolf recently did suggest some vague reforms, but the fact remains that he presides over one of the most corrupt states in the country, and his actions contradict him. While giving lip service to strong campaign finance reform, he regularly supports candidates who engage on pay-to-play, like AG candidate Josh Shapiro. McTish's company is getting the benefit of his bribes through lucrative state contracts. And he only whispers when he calls for Kane to step down. In the meantime, top investigative journalist Brad Bumstead reports that Harrisburg lobbyists are beginning to worry who among them is wearing a wire.    .

Letter to Governor Wolf:

Dear Governor Wolf:

Recent news events make clear that Pennsylvania is infected by a culture of corruption having statewide impact. Like a plague, it has gone on to infect local governments as well. In the meantime, you have been sitting on the sidelines, acting more like a Governor Godot than the man who imposed a gift ban on Executive employees.

I am from the Lehigh Valley, where six people have already entered guilty pleas in a federal investigation of political corruption in Allentown. Four of them are former public officials. Government has been brought to its knees while a Mayor in denial defies an unanimous City Council resolution calling on him to resign.

In nearby Reading, the same federal investigation has resulted in guilty pleas by three people, including the President of City Council. Its Mayor was rejected by voters in recent election.

Harrisburg's former Mayor faces nearly 500 charges of theft, fraud and outright corruption.

A United States Congressman, Chaka Fattah, is on trial in Philadelphia for racketeering and public corruption. Those kinds of prosecutions are usually reserved to the mob and drug cartels.

State Treasurer Robert McCord, your former political political rival, has pleaded guilty to outright extortion. Governor Rendell's former Chief of Staff has entered a plea, amazingly, to stealing from the FBI. Six public officials in Philadelphia have been charged with accepting bribes. Five have pleaded guilty or no contest and have been allowed to keep their pensions.

Your own Attorney General whitewashed an investigation into political corruption at the Turnpike Commission, allowing eight people to escape with slaps on the wrist and excusing admitted criminal behavior by pay-to-players like Matt McTish, who continues to benefit from state contracts. This Attorney General faces charges of lying to a Grand Jury. The Democrat seeking to replace her, endorsed by you, is himself featured prominently in accepting contributions from the same characters already charged in various federal probes.

While you yourself have done everything you can to portray a squeaky clean image, you have enabled the corruption to continue by failing to take any steps to stop it.

In my blog, Lehigh Valley Ramblings, my readers and I have come up with a number of very specific suggestions at reform that needs to take place on the state level. I am asking you to use the power of your office to be a voice for reform. Whether it is requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports by statewide candidates or banning the use of campaign finance funds for criminal defense, you need to again be the breath of fresh air who ran for office instead of someone who promotes corruption.

I will be more than happy to meet with you or a representative of your office to review these proposals. You can email me or call me at 610-533-7379.

Letter to LV Delegation to State House:

You are the LV delegation to the Pa. State House. As you know, Pennsylvania is infected by a culture of corruption that has extended to local government in Allentown. [Above] is a letter I have sent to the Governor on the need for reform. That includes a need for action and leadership by all of you.

This includes filing electronic campaign finance reports that can be viewed immediately instead of relying on paper reports that are only available months after the election. Some of you (Pete Schweyer, Marcia Hahn and Joe Emrick) file paper reports that are only available after the election. Two of you (Marcia Hahn and Joe Emrick) failed to file even paper reports in your county of residence until your transgression was brought to your attention.

In addition, you have used money donated to you to launder money to other candidates. Julie Harhart, Marcia Hahn and Joe Emrick, in their most recent report, laundered money to Zachary Mako through State Senator Mark Mustio.

I am asking you to draft legislation requiring that all finance reports be prepared electronically, and that you pledge in the meantime to file future reports electronically. I am also asking that you pledge that you will not use the money donated to your campaign to support other candidates.

I await your reply.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I commend your efforts here. We have a problem within public "service" that has grown too big to ignore. Individual citizens MUST step up. Indications are, 2016 is when this will happen. If not . . .?

Our representatives in government (as a collective) have failed us. We can no longer view political behavior through a simple Republican or Democrat prism. Such has led us to this malaise.

My efforts have been to reject incumbents. ALL incumbents. We have suffered by careless, sometimes illegal, decisions. But, also by IN-ACTIONS of others we trusted to protect us. That's failure, too. ENOUGH!

We need DIFFERENT people in government. Too late for spot-cleaning.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

What is the process you use to find laundered money like this?

"In addition, you have used money donated to you to launder money to other candidates. Julie Harhart, Marcia Hahn and Joe Emrick, in their most recent report, laundered money to Zachary Mako through State Senator Mark Mustio."

Anonymous said...

Marcia Hahn is no more than a glorified secretary and all the more reason to reduce the size of the legislature by 50%!

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:33, Harhart wanted to give money to Zach Mako but did not want it to look as though she was funding another candidate. So she, Marcia Hahan and Joe Emrick each gave $ to mark Mustio, who then contributed it to Mako. This is laundered money. Completely legal. Completely dishonest.

JoAnn Kennedy said...

Morning Bernie

Please let your readership know if you hear from the Pennsylvania Governor

Anonymous said...

Shame these bobbleheads are representing and doing as the powers to be (political & businesses) tell them what to do and when...

Anonymous said...

The Governor can't do s*** about the reforms that you want and you know it. So what makes you think that a couple of emails from you representing the trolls on your blog will get any traction when it comes to moving reforms? They all need legislative approval from the same people who won't even consider any of them -- the Legislators. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Should politicians be required to wear their corporate and or pac logo's on a jacket similar to nascar cars?

Anonymous said...

Assuming this is true would you rather he sit idly and do nothing? Apathy and inaction got us into this mess.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:07, The Governor can use the power of his office to promote reform. He may have Executive authority to compel that finance reports filed with DOS be fled electronically. The legislature may be willing to entertain some reform if they know they are in danger of losing their seats. This is just a start. What really irritates you is that there were so many good suggestions from the readers that you, an obvious troll, disparage as trolls.

JoAnn Kennedy said...

Trolls just don't live under bridges anymore -- The Governor has authority to do many things for the benefit of the Commonwealth and the residency. Time will tell if he is up to the job he was elected to do. By the way, I like the suggestions very much

Anonymous said...

Time to clean house from the federal level to the local level and everything in between. the more the country stays away from the Constitution, the more problems we will have.

Anonymous said...

Wolf doesn't care. The rules worked fine for him and he was lected. Now, he needs to use those rules to launder money to Democrats who are running against rascally Republicans who simply refuse to rubber stamp Wolf's breathtaking tax increases. Your letter is a noble effort. But it's not the kind of thing this governor will ever consider.

I think Godot is going to the Iron Pigs game. He was given complimentary tickets from some NIZ bigwig and is really looking forward to the game.

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania's problem is what it always has been: the political economy of the state is organized around either extraction industries or vertical monopolies.

From the political standpoint, this creates two possibilities for enrichment--1) fixing the "price" of taking the state's natural resources (seen today in shale), to include the price of ecological costs (or lack thereof); or 2) providing an "opportunity" for monopolistic industries to mitigate their anti-competitive practices through political donations and favors.

Right now, the legislature is the primary problem, as it generally acts against the development of industries and businesses that don't fit these models, since that would likely make it more difficult to extract rents and payments. Our legislature loves things like for-profit (de facto or de jure) "health networks" and resource funneling projects like the NIZ, since they are the gatekeepers.

The only way for PA to break this monopoly is to try to use its university systems to build clusters of excellence in emerging fields like Robotics and other tech products. But that would mean pushing PA's urban areas at the perceived expense of boroughs of 20 people in Bradford County.

Racer X said...

Bonusgate should have led to change. Nothing came.

Just ask Ralph Nader and what Democrats did to fight him in 2004. Even going so far as to pay for fake Nader supporters and staff to sabotage his image in PA. Only a small few were held accountable. While others like Mike Fleck lived to corrupt another day.


Anonymous said...

Godot goes to Phantoms games because Coca-Cola Park is not in the too big to fail NIZ.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Chaka Fattah was the ONLY incumbent Congressman who faced a primary challenge and lost. We just keep electing the same people over and over again in Washington and Harrisburg.