Tax Dollars for Spying and the Upcoming Election

Nixon

This is quite an allegation:

From his state Senate discretionary fund, Vincent J. Fumo paid a private investigator more than $215,000 to dig up dirt on Ed Rendell, then a candidate for governor; union leader John Dougherty; and an ex-wife and former girlfriends, the federal government alleges.

The tale of Fumo's alleged five-year spying operation is one of the most surprising portions in the 267-page indictment handed up yesterday by a grand jury.

"Taxpayers are paying for a state senator to hire a former police inspector to follow around ex-girlfriends," said U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan. "To me, that's scary."

Fumo never addressed the spying allegations when he rose on the Senate floor Monday to declare his innocence.

The indictment portrays a man going to extraordinary lengths to expand his influence, using tactics that reminded one pollster of President Richard M. Nixon, whose 1972 campaign hired operatives to spy on political enemies.

Yesterday's indictment says Fumo hired a private eye, identified only as "Senate Contractor No. 1" and "a retired police inspector."

He is Frank D. Wallace, the former head of the city Police Department's organized crime unit. Between 2001 and 2005, Wallace was making $150 an hour as a contract employee of the Democratic staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Fumo headed.

OK, if this is true, this is pretty damn stunning. I know when the indictment first came out, people thought that using the Senate staff for political purposes was not much of a charge. But, bottom line is that this is incredibly scary, and completely indefensible. He is using taxpayer money to hire private eyes to not just look at his political enemies, but also his ex girlfriend?

Awful.

And, I just want to add something, to our City officials who read this blog. I know most of you would never do something like the stuff that is alleged here. But, you know what? Voters aren't going to care. They see convictions coming out of City Hall, one political boss alleged to have been using our money to spy on people, and then... City Council destroying campaign finance laws to help the other most powerful boss.

Seriously, is that what you want leading up to an election?

Freedom of Speech

If proved true, the allegations against Vince Fumo would be damning, but I don't see how the issue of the millionaire's exception is connected. Campaign finance is a good thing, but it should apply to all the candidates. I think it's terribly unfair for one candidate to have a $ 5,000,000 advantage (currently commited for and the prospect of up to $ 15,000,000). This travesty can be resolved, but not in time for this election. The most expeditious way to get passed this issue for this primary, is to allow all the other candidates raise funds by having a one time relaxaton of the campaign finance law.

While there are good candidates running, a couple of years ago I had a chance to meet Bob Brady. I found him to be a regular guy and was very impressed his directness. When asked for help, he gave the answer that he was going to give - as oppossed to "I'll get back to you". If he made a promise, he kept it. If he wanted to say no, he would tell the requestor no. He didn't try to hedge. He treats all comers with respect. His biggest asset is also the biggest complaint about him - He heads a well organized political machine. I feel that Bob Brady's view of his machine is one of service to the community. If the ward leaders don't take care of their constituents, they won't be ward leaders very long.

If Miami had the same machine, Al Gore would be president today. If Cleveland had the same machine, John Kerry would've been president. In the governor's race, Philadelphia had a 350,000 vote plurality whereas Pennsylvania only had a 180,000 vote plurality. Bob Drady loves Philadelphia and I feel he would provide the kind of leadership that would make Philadelphia great again.

New campaign finance restriction

I'm thinking that YPP should start charging for each salvo in the Brady barrage of commercials.

Seriously, if you guys think that these transparent "testimonials" are effective campaign tactics, then you should realize that at least for some folks it's only an indicator that you candidate isn't running a very effective or transparent campaign.

I guess it's kind of absurd to say that Brady's folks don't know how to run an effective campaign - but I can only see two possible outcomes from this kind of post on this site: 1) You're preaching to the choir, and 2), you're making it less likely that the undecided voters who like this site will consider Brady an honest and ethical candidate.

Talking points

Well Gadfly, at least you're on message. You're saying exactly the same things they coached Bob to say before his announcement. I knew I had heard this before:

If Miami had the same machine, Al Gore would be president today. If Cleveland had the same machine, John Kerry would've been president. In the governor's race, Philadelphia had a 350,000 vote plurality whereas Pennsylvania only had a 180,000 vote plurality.

If any of you want to hear Big Bob say it himself, go to http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/index?section=politics&id=4533470. Then go to the video player on the right hand side and scroll down to "Bob Brady talks to Vernon Odom before announcing his candidacy for Mayor," right around the halfway point of the video you'll hear Bob say the same things about Miami and Cleveland and political machines/bosses.

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

OK, so, we can all

OK, so, we can all acknowledge that is pretty funny.

I'm in

very
funny.

:)

acm

Funny...

Funny and totally awesome.

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http://benwaxman.com

Good catch

That's classic.

Appreciate You're Taking The Time

Dr Stuff,

I appreciate you taking the time to listen to what Bob Brady is saying. I heard Candidate Brady say what you heard and I liked what I heard. I encourage all of you to listen to what Bob Brady has to say and make up their own minds. Reasonable people often disagree on what appear to be the same set of facts. Obviously good folks process these facts through different lenses.

Let me tell you about the Bob Brady I know. He's a hard and smart working, fair minded regular guy. While he lives in a nicer house now, he moved only a few blocks from where he grew up. He is loyal to a fault. He's honest and direct with responding to any information he receives. Best of all, he loves Philadelphia. Bob is equally at home in Overbrook as he is in North Philadelphia. I don't agree with everything he says, but I believe he listens to what people have to say to him.

Philadelphia has a great many problems to solve. I believe Bob Brady will surround himself with some pretty smart people. One example is Jonathan Seidel for financing improved directions. After listening to the experts, Bob will provide the leadership to make Philadelphia a great city.

Wow, get this man a prize...

Gadfly is the first person to give a well reasoned explanation of why Bob Brady might make a good mayor. Hell, if we get more comments/posts like this I might actually vote for the guy. might

Stop being so threatened

Stop being so threatened by people that don't agree with you. It's possible that people have views different than yours and are not some shill. The first indicator of a reasonable person, is that they acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree about reasonable issues.

The version of liberalism of some on this site is more like the Polit Bureau..

Naw, we just like to rumble

Dara, we're just like a loud family, that's all. Stick around, it's fine. You need to look at the list of people Dan & Ray just promoted into being "contributors" (meaning we have wicked mad ninja powers now... wheeewww!!). They are not all folks who always agree with Dan and Ray. I've argued with both of the guys before, for example, and I got in.

Don't be threatened by a litatle zinging. It's good for America. FDR used to govern by prodding all his advisers into big fights which he'd listen to and then make up his mind.

Through snarkery we advance.

(((p.s. there are certain things that don't go over around here, though, such as quoting chapter and verse of some power base's party line. if you keep watching, you'll start to recognize it too and it will start to annoy you as well)))

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BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

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