March 22nd Ups & Downs
A state representative resigns from office amid a sexual assault investigation, while a state Senator is called to resign from his county’s party committee in the aftermath of multiple allegations of impropriety, including of sexual assault. A bill nearly passes unanimously in Harrisburg aimed at punishing elected and public officials charge with corruption and a 2020 Dem presidential candidate stops in Happy Valley. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Brian Ellis. The GOP state representative from Butler County resigned from office this week as a sexual assault investigation continues. His resignation letter to House GOP leadership stated it was in the best interest of his family, residents of the district and his health that he resign from office. In January, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Ellis was under investigation for rape. He allegedly had sex with a woman while she was “incapacitated and without her consent, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the inquiry.” The alleged assault took place in late 2015 in his Harrisburg residence and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office is conducting a criminal investigation.
Daylin Leach. The Montgomery County Democratic Party is the latest group to call for the resignation of the state Senator after a series of allegations, including of sexual assault, made public over the past couple of years. Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and the Delaware County Democratic Party have previously stated their belief that Leach should resign from office. The letter from the Montco Dems stated Leach has been a “champion for liberal causes,” but said the situation with him reached a “crisis point.” Leach continues to deny all of these claims, while stating he will not resign from office.
Harrisburg Accountability. A bill aimed at holding the state’s elected officials and public employees who commit serious job-related crimes accountable passed the state Senate by a 44-0 vote this week. The pension forfeiture bill, which will remove pensions of public officials and employees who commit felonies or offenses by more than five years’ jail sentence, is expected to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. The state House passed the bill by a 194-1 vote with state Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) as the solo opposing vote, according to PennLive.
The 2020 Campaign. For the first time (and certainly not the last) a declared Dem presidential candidate made a campaign stop in the Keystone State. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke paid a visit to Happy Valley on Wednesday to speak at Penn State University. President Donald Trump made multiple campaign appearances leading up to the 2018 midterms boasting about the GOP candidates in Pennsylvania, while promoting his agenda.
Miles Karson. The former Mercer County District Attorney was sentenced to four years of probation and 300 hours of community service after being found guilty for misdemeanor crimes relating to misusing his office “to benefit his girlfriend.” The Post-Gazette reports that a 13-page document outline “incident after incident” in which Karson interfered with the justice system on behalf of his girlfriend. His girlfriend, Tonya Bulboff, was sentenced in 2017 to a year’s probation on reduced drug charges. He was found guilty of obstructing the administration of law or government function and official oppression.
Josh Maxwell. The Mayor of Downingtown received the Chester County Democratic party endorsement for Commissioner over Kathi Cozzone, who has served as commissioner since 2008 and as vice chairwoman of the three-member board. Cozzone finished third in the Democratic primary for Lt. Gov in 2018 after capturing 18% of the vote. Maxwell is the only Democrat in the four person field slated to face each other in the May 21 primary to receive the committee’s endorsement.
Adrian Rivera Reyes. Perhaps the biggest winner of the week in the city of Philadelphia. The 26 year old cancer researcher drew the first ballot position in a crowded field for City Council at-large in Philadelphia. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer after receiving the first position, which is selected from an old Horn & Hardhat coffee can, that he was “ecstatic” and that getting the 1st position is “going to be a big bonus” for him. If elected, Reyes, a democratic socialist, would be the first openly gay City Council member and its youngest.
John Robinson Block. The publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade sent out a rather puzzling Facebook status, which was screenshot by Nolan Rosenkrans, Toledo Newspaper Guild/CWA President. Block’s status described a social setting on the island of Mustique, describing an evening where a “plentitude of young women — all nicely dressed with parents not too interfering” as a “Nirvana for young men.”
Lynn Swann. The former Pittsburgh Steeler great and former PA GOP gubernatorial candidate is in hot water as calls for him to resign from his position as the Athletic Director at the University of Southern California grow amid an admission scandal involving the athletics department at the school. Swann told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that he was “blindsided” by the news and remains adamant that he will not be stepping down from his role despite growing dissatisfaction with the sports department at the school. It also doesn’t help Swann that this was the first season since the 1983-1984 seasons in which both the football and men’s basketball program both finished under .500.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
How much of Gritty is ALREADY made up of dairy?
— PA Department of Agriculture (@PAAgriculture) March 20, 2019
This article was updated to correct the wording in the excerpt to “state Senator is called to resign from his county’s party committee in the aftermath of multiple allegations of impropriety, including of sexual assault.” The previous version stated, “while a state Senator is called to resign from his county’s party committee in the aftermath of multiple sexual assault allegations.”