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- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
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Tax Dollars for Spying and the Upcoming Election
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?
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?