Top Donors 2014— Sunlight Foundation which does yeoman’s work showing how our political campaigns and crusades are funded recently distributed a best-of 2015 which included this dissection from April of where the money went in the 2014 election from the “one percent of the one percent”. They hold this category contains 31,976 persons who contributed $1.18 billion.
Sunlight noted that this money skewed slightly to the GOP and conservatives — $553 million verses $505 million to Democrats and liberals. The top donors, however, were overwhelmingly D.
Liberal hedge fund manger Tom Steyer spent $73,884, 467, which is more than the next 17 Republicans combined. A nice chunk of it went to the campaign for Tom Wolf.
The number 2 donor was former New York Mayor Michale Bloomberg who once upon a time was a Republican but has since moved solely into the camp of country-club progressives. He gave $11,042,800 of which $10,527,600 went to the left.
Sunlight is a critic of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that held that the First Amendment prohibited government interference with political spending by non-profit groups. Much of this money now goes to “super PACs” which are political action committees that don’t make direct contributions to candidates but stick to issues.
Criticism of Citizens United is extremely short-sighted. The Supreme Court got it right. The largest media organization in the world is Philadelphia-based Comcast. It’s “news” outlets are NBC and its spin-offs, which are basically Democrat propaganda machines. The New York Times, despite its fading reputation, is also a partisan mouthpiece. There is no inherent difference between a group of people chipping in to send out mailings and make posters to disseminate information than a New York Times front page story except that the mailings and posters are likely far more honest and accurate.
Vince Rongione, who was the Democrat’s candidate in the Pennsylvania 163 District State House race last fall, has accepted a plea deal on charges related to voter fraud, according to a press release sent by the Delaware County Republican Party.
Rongione surrendered himself to arrest, Feb. 18, waived his preliminary hearing, and was admitted to the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program for first time offenders. It was part of a deal his attorney arranged with a special prosecutor. According to news reports, under the terms of the deal Rongione must complete community service, serve six months of probation, and pay a fine for his actions.
Delaware County GOP Chairman Andy Reilly called the plea and sentence “vindication”.
“We always maintained that in pursuing his candidacy, Vince Rongione committed voter fraud and signed election documents that he knew to be false,” said Reilly. “This is vindication of our complaints that Rongione knowingly and deliberately violated the Pennsylvania Constitution and election law by attempting to establish a bogus residency. Despite this clear violation of the law, Rongione received the fervent and ardent support of the Delaware County Democratic Party in this deception of Delaware County voters.”
The 163rd seat had been vacated by Republican Nick Micozzie after decades of service and the Dems had high hopes they could snatch it. On Election Night the hopes came to naught despite the cheating as Jamie Santora beat Rongione 11,362 to 9,963 (unofficially).
The GOP wave missed Pennsylvania at the gubernatorial level but that was just about it. Pennsylvania’s congressional breakdown remains 13-5 in favor of the Republicans and the GOP actually expanded its majority in the State House and Senate with districts 46, 52, 83, 115, 120 and 146 appearing to have flipped to the GOP in the House and districts 32 and 46 in the Senate as per the Keystone Report.
This would give the Republicans a 117 to 86 advantage in the House come January and a 29-21 advantage in the Senate.
One particular election of note is that of Russ Diamond to the 102nd District seat vacated by Republican RoseMarie Swanger. Diamond, a truck driver, created a political earthquake in 2006 when he organized PACleanSweep after the legislature voted itself a pay raise in 2005. Thirty-five CleanSweep candidates won their primaries knocking out seven long-term incumbents.
Diamond is a Republican albeit the party bosses don’t particularly like him.
Also Republican Tom Quigley won his rematch with Democrat Mark Painter who unseated him two years ago in the 146th District Race.
Closer to home, kudos to Springfield GOP Chief Mike Puppio who pulled Tom McGarrigle over the line in the 26th District State Senate race for the seat being vacated by Ted Erickson. Springfield gave McGarrigle a 3,419 majority (unofficially) over Democrat John Kane in a race he won by just 1,703 votes. Puppio was also instrumental in helping Jamie Santora beat Vince Rongione to keep the 163rd District seat vacated by Nick Micozzie in Republican hands. The unofficial tally was 11,362 to 9,963.
And kudos to Megan Rath who took on Democrat power Bob Brady in the 1st District. She ended up with 26,447 votes (unofficially) and hopefully she stays involved in politics. She was working on extremely unfriendly territory. For progress to happen, there must be people willing to do that.
No kudos, however, to Tom Corbett who managed to become the first Pennsylvania incumbent governor to lose an election since 1946 in a Republican wave year.
Pennsylvania Independent reports that state senators Pat Browne (R-16), John Rafferty (R-44) and Tommy Tomlinson (R-6) received a massive union cash dump shortly before yesterday’s (Nov. 4) election with Browne getting $37,000 from 10 groups including $10,000 from the PSEA (public school teachers) and $500 from 1776 PAC UFCW (state stores); Rafferty getting $7,000 broken down as $5,000 from the PSEA, $1,000 from the Professional Firefighters Association PAC and $1,000 from Steamfitters Local 420; and Tomlinson getting $22,000 from seven groups including $10,000 from PA SEIU (government workers) and $1,000 from 1776 PAC UFCW.
It’s a pretty good bet that this trio will vote with Democrats in opposing legislation such as selling the state stores, effective pension reform and making education more effective but less burdensome on the average Joe and Jill.
We suspect that Tom Corbett is not going to be getting a second term as Pennsylvania’s governor, but if he should manage to mount a bottom-of-the-ninth comeback, he ought to send Barack Obama a thank-you note.
The unpopular President campaigned for Corbett’s rival Tom Wolfe on Sunday at Temple University. He filled in less than a quarter of the seats at the Liacouras Center. The event manager estimated the crowd at 5,500. Many think that was an exaggeration.
We, of course, are going to be voting for Corbett in a very short while. In any election between Karl Marx and Harpo Marx always go with Harpo.
Today is Election Day. Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) who is running for a full term after winning a special election, March 18, has sent the following letter to his constituents. It’s worth being read by all who care about this state and the nation.
By Scott Wagner
I am writing to the voters of the 28th Pennsylvania State Senate District regarding the upcoming election . . ., Tuesday, November 4th.
I made a decision over a year ago to run for the State Senate position that I currently hold.
I made that decision because I was fed up with the status quo.
Without going into details, most people know that I am in the Pennsylvania State Senate because of unusual circumstances.
I was fed up with a government that was making what I love to do harder and harder each year.
What I love to do is start up and build businesses that create jobs and employ people.
Let me repeat – create jobs and employ people.
Pennsylvania has a lot of opportunities and it also has many issues.
Let’s talk about some of the issues.
The number #1 issue in the 28th Senate District is school taxes.
A significant driver of the ever increasing school taxes is a state pension system that is vastly underfunded and facing a $47 Billion Dollar shortfall.
During my short period of seven months in the Pennsylvania State Senate it is crystal clear to me that the public sector unions have complete control of Harrisburg and are blocking pension reform, school tax elimination, liquor privatization, and prevailing wage mandates on school districts to name a few.
Pennsylvania needs government reform and it needs it quickly.
Pennsylvania does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
I knew this fact before I went to Harrisburg and I now see it first-hand.
My opponent will say we need jobs.
Here is the real issue. We have a skilled labor shortage. South Central Pennsylvania has approximately 3500 job opening for skilled workers.
By skilled workers I am referring to truck drivers, mechanics, welders, industrial electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers and machine operators to name a few.
This past May, Pennsylvania colleges graduated 12,000 teachers with 3,000 positions available.
York County needs to change its junior and senior high school education programs to include education for the trades.
Pennsylvania has a prescription drug epidemic and that has created a heroin crisis.
Pennsylvania is not a “right to work” state.
Pennsylvania is ranked 34th in the nation as having a percentage of its workers unionized.
Pennsylvania has major competition with southern “right to work” states.
We have a lot of work to do to make Pennsylvania more competitive against other states.
I started my business career over thirty-five years ago; it has taken a lot of hard work and risk to get to where I am today.
Success doesn’t just happen; I have had many failures also and have turned those failures into learning experiences.
Having served in the Senate for seven months it is crystal clear to me that there is not a single person in the house or senate that has my extensive business experience and knowledge of how the real world operates.
In my short time in the senate my name has been in newspapers continuously, or I am on TV and you can find me on the internet because I am not a status quo person.
I ask questions, continuously looking for ways to improve things, and as a result I am seen as a disruptor.
I love when someone says “we have always done it this way”.
People have said, “Wagner’s style won’t work in Harrisburg – he is abrasive and he is outspoken”.
Let me be clear – I am not a status quo person.
I intend to be a Senator who will be disruptive.
I will break the rules with professionalism, a strategy, style, and class.
I already have a career.
I am a leader, I am a strategist, I am a visionary and I am a team builder.
And most important – I am not, and will not be owned by lobbyists, special interest groups, senate leadership, and a corrupt system.
I have pledged to serve two four-year terms in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
It is not my goal to become a career politician. I am seen as a very dangerous person to a lot of people who live on the system in Harrisburg.
We have a lot of things in Pennsylvania that are simply outdated and broken, and need fixed quickly.
If you want a Senator who will go to Harrisburg to make Pennsylvania a better, more competitive state so Pennsylvanians have good sustaining jobs and Pennsylvania is a better place to live and prosper, then I ask for your vote on November 4th.
Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, an individual must be a resident of the district in which they are running for a minimum of one year prior to the election. In October 2013, the last date to file a voter registration prior to the 2013 general election, Rongione filed a change of voter registration with an address of 1251 Wilson Drive, located in Upper Darby’s 3-7 voting district. However, newly obtained witness statements show that the property was for sale, unoccupied, and vacant – despite Rongione’s assertion that he was residing there according to his voter registration form, county GOP Chairman Andy Reilly said.
The real estate agent who listed the property has provided a statement that he visited the property weekly from July 2013 through January 2014 and that the residence was vacant and unoccupied the entire time, Reilly says. Similar statements from a neighbor of the residence, the new owner of the property (who settled on the house in January 2014) and their real estate agent also confirm that the property was unoccupied and vacant.
“Based on the statements we have obtained, it appears that Vince Rongione lied about residing at this address in order to establish a basis for proof of residency so he could run for the seat,” said Reilly. “This appears to be part of an elaborate deception orchestrated by Rongione in an attempt to circumvent the state constitution’s residency requirements. If, for some reason, voters were to elect Rongione in spite of his repeated deceptions throughout the campaign, he could not be seated as a legislator if he fails to meet the residency requirements.”
Specifically, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that a State Representative “shall have been citizens and inhabitants of their respective districts one year next before their election.”
On Dec. 7, 2013, Rongione subsequently registered to vote at his newly purchased house on Blanchard Road in Upper Darby. This was more than one month after the Constitutional deadline for establishing his residency.
Rongione’s Republican opponent, Jamie Santora, has been raising questions about Rongione’s residency claims throughout the campaign. However, officials just became aware that the house he used in an attempt to establish residency was for sale and vacant.
“I have asked the voter services agencies to investigate this apparent fraudulent voter registration and unlawful voting that occurred in 2013,” said Reilly. “This is a serious matter, no mere campaign rhetoric, and there are serious consequences if prosecutorial agencies confirm the facts we have discovered. Unless he can immediately produce evidence that he actually lived at 1251 Wilson Drive and intended to make this his permanent domicile, Rongione should admit his wrongful actions to the residents of this district, end his campaign, and seek immediate court permission to withdraw as a candidate.”
Remorse is possible only when one is aware of evil, which is not the case with a corrupt person said the Pope in an address to the International Association of Penal Law.
“It is hard for the one who has it to realize it; others realize it and have to tell him,” the Pope said.
Well, if the Pope wants it, here it goes:
John Kane, you are corrupt.
You use the automatically, mostly involuntarily, deducted money from the paychecks of the members of Plumber’s Local 690 of Philadelphia and Vicinity for a $119,213 salary to co-chair the union’s vacation fund, a job that you have confessed to the IRS takes but one hour per week.
That is corruption.
And that’s on top of the $156,537 you get as the union’s business manager for which you claim to work 39 hours per week.