PA-Gov: GOP Leaders File Election Complaint Against Tom Wolf

PAGOP-logoThe Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, Rob Gleason, and his Vice Chairman, Joyce Haas, have filed a formal complaint against Democratic nominee for governor Tom Wolf and his political action committees (PACs).

Wolf’s campaign has two main PACs, the Tom Wolf for Governor Committee and the Campaign for a Fresh Start. Gleason alleges that Wolf has been “shifting the principal role of the Tom Wolf for Governor Committee to raise and disburse funds for his campaign to Campaign for a Fresh Start, an entity he created and authorized to take over those activities.”

“Both of Tom Wolf’s political action committees are operating in violation of Pennsylvania’s Election Code,” Gleason continued. “Just like when his business incorporated in Delaware, Tom Wolf is once again employing a strategy aimed at evading Pennsylvania law.”

According to Gleason, the Campaign for a Fresh Start Committee was formed for the purpose of “trying to avoid the impact of the Election Code requirements that govern candidates and their committees.”

“Whether it’s in his business practices or his campaign, Tom Wolf is not comfortable with being open or transparent with the public,” he concluded. “We are calling on Secretary Aichele and the PA Department of State to recognize these material violations, inform both of Wolf’s PACs that they must cease violating the Election Code, and refer the matter to appropriate law enforcement authorities.”

Fresh Start Spokesman Mike Mikus fired back at these allegations.

“This complaint would be laughable if it wasn’t an attempt by Tom Corbett to use the state Department of Elections – which is run by one of his political employees – to silence his opponents about the real scandals within his administration.”

Mikus then asserted that this was merely an attempt to distract attention from the uproar over Ron Tomalis’ tenure and resignation.

“Tom Corbett’s campaign is desperately trying to change the subject and deflect attention from the scandals that have engulfed his administration,” Mikus stated. “No frivolous complaint will change the fact that Tom Corbett illegally held campaign meetings in his state office, nor will it change the fact that for no work, Ron Tomalis was paid $140,000 and saw a huge bump in his pension. These sleazy tactics will not change the fact that Tom Corbett keeps his education Secretary even though she admitted to the media that she is illegally deleting emails.”

“Tom Corbett should quit using taxpayer resources to silence his opponents and start explaining to taxpayers why he used their money to pay Ron Tomalis $140,000 to do no work,” he concluded.

Whether the complaint filed by Gleason and Haas will attract much attention by the authorities is questionable. However, this maneuver appears to be one step in a bigger push by Republicans to brand Wolf as unethical and a shady businessman.

Update: Jeffrey Sheridan, Spokesman for the Wolf Campaign, provided the following response to PoliticsPA:

“This is a clear and desperate attempt by Governor Corbett to distract from the ongoing scandals plaguing his administration. Governor Corbett’s frivolous complaint is laughable, but his administration’s incompetence and ethical lapses are no laughing matter.”

Roll Call Excludes PA From Top Five List of Mid-Atlantic Races to Watch

mike-fitzpatrick2Roll Call released a list of the top 5 races to watch in the Mid-Atlantic region today, and excluded any races from Pennsylvania.

Author Nathan Gonzales even went so far as to say that “It’s a bad sign for Democrats when they have more Mid-Atlantic congressional opportunities in West Virginia than in Pennsylvania.”

This list signals a change from last summer, when Roll Call listed PA-8 as a race to watch. Even then, the district was categorized as “Republican Favored”, though the race was still considered one to keep an eye on.

Gonzales’s description of PA-8 this time around, however, is short and packed with bad news for PA Democrats.

“GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick is running strong in Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and his race with Democrat Kevin Strouse should barely be considered competitive at this point,” he wrote.

Roll Call’s slight change in prediction is just one indicator in a slowly growing line of pundits downgrading the once optimistic chances of both Kevin Strouse in PA-8 and Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi in PA-6.

The organization did include NJ-3 on their list, which echoes DCCC Chair Steve Israel’s comments last month. This would suggest that the New Jersey race, and not one of the two SEPA contests, are the Democrats’ top priority in the Delaware Valley.

8/20 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Rendell criticizes Ferguson’s response, labor unrest could threaten Philly’s 2016 DNC bid and we ask our readers whether there should be a lieutenant gubernatorial debate. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

Rendell Critiques Ferguson Response, Prompts Rebuke from McCaskill: Former PA governor and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell said this morning on “Morning Joe” that Missouri’s government could have taken certain steps to ensure it was better prepared for the crisis in Ferguson.

Labor Spats in Philly Hover Over DNC Convention Bid: With unions back protesting the Convention Center just days after DNC officials concluded their tour of Philadelphia, concerns have been raised about how this could affect the city’s bid.

Reader Poll: Should There Be a Lieutenant Gubernatorial Debate?: We ask our readers whether the Lt. Gov candidates should go one-on-one sometime this fall.

Reader Poll: Philly Will Host 2016 Democratic National Convention: Our readers believe that Philadelphia will win the right to host the 2016 DNC.

Legislative Election Update:

SD-26: Delaware County Council Chairman and GOP nominee for State Senate Tom McGarrigle won the endorsement of the 88th District Council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). District Council 88 represents 670 employees in Delaware County and 15,000 employees in Southeast PA.

Statewide
PLS Reporter: Administration says Healthy PA approval coming shortly, others not so sure
PA Independent: Riding with Uber, as it faces down regulators
StateImpact PA: Groups call for investigation into health department’s handling of drilling
Capitolwire: No bipartisan investigation into DOH complain process planned, so far
Capitolwire: AG’s office argues for jury trial in Turnpike corruption case

Philadelphia
PhillyClout: From “Plaza” to “Park,” Dilworth gets a new look and a new name
Daily News: Seizing the moment: Ajay Raju thinks Philly’s on the verge of greatness
WHYY NewsWorks: Pa. law requires expectant parents be given information on Down syndrome after diagnosis
WHYY NewsWorks: U.S. court sides with Philly cops fighting ban on political contributions
PhillyNow: Judge dismisses Kermit Gosnell-related case against city

SEPA
Daily Local News: Judge Bruno reinstated to bench, awaits Supreme Court action
Bucks County Courier Times: Pension load keeps getting heavier for school districts
The Intelligencer: Montgomery County judge sets trial for state Sen. Washington
Delco Daily Times: County Democrats lambaste Gov. Corbett on education
Delco Daily Times: Corbett lauds ‘Pennsylvania Learns’ in Visit to Garnet Valley

Pittsburgh
Post Gazette: Federal grand jury that investigated city, Luke Ravenstahl comes to close
Post Gazette: Politicians, everyday Pittsburghers gather for funeral of Sophie Masloff
Pittsburgh Business Times: Can Obama’s campaign manager help Uber beat ‘the Big Taxi cartel’?
WTAE: Ravenstahl grand jury expires; feds mum on probe
KDKA: Ravenstahl Grand Jury Expires Without Returning Indictments
Tribune-Review: Discrimination lawsuit against Pittsburgh police union, city thrown out
Tribune-Review: State Supreme Court declares fine against casino employee unconstitutional
Tribune-Review: Grand jury that heard testimony from Ravenstahl aides ends work

Southwest
Altoona Mirror: Meeting to focus on cleaning up range
Altoona Mirror: AASD narrowly OKs $500K phone system
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Cambria Somerset Authority turning to hunters in battle with troublesome geese at Que
Beaver County Times: State addresses handling of drilling-related health concerns
Beaver County Times: Judge rules man cannot stay on council during appeal
PublicSource: Evidence of racial bias in prison makes whites less likely to support reforms
AP: Pa. fines gas drillers for losing control of well

NEPA
The Times Leader: Dorrance Twp. planning commission wants CAFOs restricted
The Times Leader: Redevelopment Authority talks marketing Wilkes-Barre’s Market Street Square
The Times Leader: Environmental groups: Health department policy improvements for fracking fall short
The Times Leader: City taxpayers to protest at Pashinski’s office
News Item: Line Mtn. rep: Teachers will strike
News Item: Mount Carmel may appoint new treasurer
Times-Tribune: Councilmen: Rogan cellphone tower deal blindsided us

South Central
Harrisburg Patriot News: Tom Wolf and the ‘middle class’ tax hike: Governor race 2014 fact check
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Hundreds of Lancaster County residents swarm federal agency with environmental concerns about pipeline
York Dispatch: York County looking for a few good employees

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: PA FOP endorses Wolf over Corbett
Reading Eagle: Pottstown hospital part of company that had information taken in cyberattack
WFMZ: A fact-check of education funding in Pennsylvania
Express Times: Lehigh Valley childhood cancer assistance organization launches new $3.4 million campaign with help of local students
Express Times: Northampton County councilman calls for end of prison substance abuse program

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Erie to host statewide election officials conference
Onward State: Terrell Jones, Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Passes Away
Centre Daily Times: Brian Walker selected to fill open Bellefonte Borough Council seat

Opinion
Times-Tribune: Entrenchment worst option
Times-Tribune: Schools need adequate reserves
Altoona Mirror: Public deserves PLCB data
Carlisle Sentinel: Our View: Sheetz more proof of arcane laws
York Daily Record: This campaign for governor is getting sleazy
Daily News: A disease no ice bucket will cure
Delco Daily Times: Don’t fall for attack ads in Pa. guv race
Tribune-Review: Recasting the EPA: Devolving power to the states
Tribune-Review: Another carbon credit scheme
Post Gazette: Worker support: Pittsburgh deserves to have the same Act 47 options
Observer-Reporter: The reality about skills, drugs and unemployment

Blogs
PA Budget and Policy Center: Cutting your way to a more sluggish recovery
Keystone State Education Coalition: Former State Rep. Kathy Manderino to head new PA school funding campaign
Commonwealth Foundation: Teachers opt out of union membership
Citizens Call: Wawa zoning issue pulled from Wed. night board agenda

Labor Spats in Philly Hover Over DNC Convention Bid

carpenters

Photo by Steve Trader/NewsWorks

Although current squabbles between the city of Philadelphia and labor unions may signal problems for its bid as a labor-friendly city to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, says that the disputes won’t cause any disruptions during the event.

Officials from the Democratic National Committee left Philadelphia on Thursday after visiting to evaluate the city’s potential to host the convention, and 50 union carpenters returned to their spot outside of the convention center with an inflatable “fat cat” to protest the center’s hiring of two other trade unions because the protesting carpenters – members of the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – were slow to agree to follow new rules that would make projects less expensive and less disruptive for visitors.

The current protest may very well make the officials that visited last week nervous, as they want assurances that nothing which could embarrass the Democratic Party – known for being friendly with unions – will happen during the convention.

Eiding, though, promises that disputes will not continue through the event. “There won’t be an issue,” he said. “Labor leaders are professional and know the convention would bring plenty of work for everybody.”

Eiding’s argument is persuasive, as it seems that even the bid to host the convention has already helped local unions because the city wants to be seen as labor-friendly as possible while still competing against Birmingham, Phoenix, Columbus and Brooklyn.

The bid has already improved negotiations in District Council 33 of AFSCME’s fight for a contract from the city. After five years without a contract under the administration of Mayor Nutter, who has a notoriously rocky relationship with unions, the 8,800 member group finally saw progress in a meeting on August 8.

According to Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, “One way to make sure we’re viewed as a labor-friendly venue for the convention is to give these people a contract.”

Councilman James Kenney, who may run for mayor in 2015, pointed out that labor relations with unions such as D.C. 33 will likely improve when Mayor Nutter leaves office, allowing for a pleasant labor climate in time for the convention.

Labor leaders, it seems, see enough promise for increased work and benefits for their members to ensure that peace is held through the convention – so much so that they have already pledged to contribute $5 million of the $80 million Philadelphia will need to host the convention.

Leaders and members are also already showing a willingness to work harder to negotiate with the city to settle disputes well before the DNC comes to town, as the carpenter protesters proved when spokesman Marty O’Rourke announced that a mediation meeting in front of the Labor Relations Board has already been scheduled for next month.

“We’re going into that meeting with good intentions, and we hope that management is, too, and that we can work out a reasonable solution,” he asserted. “The carpenters fully support the DNC coming here.”

Rendell Critiques Ferguson Response, Prompts Rebuke from McCaskill

RendellFormer PA governor Ed Rendell claimed this morning on “Morning Joe” that the government of  Ferguson, Missouri could have been more adequately prepared to deal with the chaos that has ensued since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer.

The former governor, who also previously served as mayor of Philadelphia, referenced a system in place in Philadelphia that he believes would have been helpful in Ferguson.

“In Philadelphia, we have something called a civil affairs unit,” he said. “The civil affairs people go out into the community. They often bring the police clergy with them. We have 78 clergy members who signed up to help the police and they preach at the very beginning, they preach restraint and they say peaceful demonstrations and they say let’s work this out together.”

“Obviously, nothing was in place in Ferguson,” Rendell concluded. “They had no protocols for dealing with this. So they are playing catch-up.”

Though he perhaps did not intend to insult lawmakers in Missouri, his last few words caused backlash from MO Senator Claire McCaskill, who spoke on the show via satellite later in the show and insisted that the hands-on work with the community that Rendell claims is missing is actually just being ignored by the media.

“I have an opportunity now to say that Ed Rendell is wrong, and I don’t get that opportunity often enough,” she said. “Ed Rendell is wrong about one thing. I was in church in Ferguson on Sunday and every church in Ferguson was packed. There wasn’t a lot of cameras at all these different churches…We’ve got everybody engaged on the ground trying to reach out to young people. I’m meeting with a group of young people again tomorrow. There is all kinds of things going on on the ground and it is not getting the coverage it deserves.”

This argument between Rendell and McCaskill is also a bit ironic when you consider that the tactics employed by the Ferguson police forces are believed to be descended from the strategies of former Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney.

Reader Poll: Should There Be a Lieutenant Gubernatorial Debate?

Cawley-StackA candidates’ debate is perhaps the most important yet overrated, overhyped but most-watched, event of any campaign.

Last week, it was revealed that gubernatorial candidates Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf will debate three times in the fall. These will be the only occasions throughout the long horse-race that is a political campaign where both candidates will face off one-on-one.

This got us to thinking about whether in addition to the three gubernatorial debates there should also be a debate between the candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Jim Cawley and Mike Stack.

Much like the Vice President, the Lt. Governor is a second-in-command with little powers who could have to step in at any moment. This begs the question, if the position is so potentially powerful and is included on the gubernatorial ticket, shouldn’t we have the opportunity to see the candidates debate one another?

Vice-Presidential debates have become a tradition and oftentimes are far more enlightening (and entertaining) than their counterparts. Perhaps this would also be the case with a Cawley-Stack encounter.

So, we decided to ask you our readers, should the Lt. Gov candidates hold a debate?

Should There Be a Lieutenant Gubernatorial Debate?

View Results

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Reader Poll: Philly Will Host 2016 Democratic National Convention

philadelphiaThe people of the Keystone State are ready to host another political convention.

That’s the conclusion we reached when looking at the results of our latest reader poll.

Last week, reports emerged that Philadelphia was the front-runner to land the convention and a few days later the city’s leading political officials gave the DNC delegation their official tour.

In light of these events, we decided to ask whether you believe Philly will actually land the event.

324 readers, nearly two-thirds, said Philadelphia would win the bid while 180 respondents think that the convention will be held somewhere else.

The full results are included below:

Will Philadelphia Win Their Bid to Host the 2016 Democratic National Convention?


  • Yes (64%)
  • No (36%)

Total Voters: 504

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8/19 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Republicans accuse Wolf of a gun gaffe, Corbett shies away from Rick Perry and the FBI looks into an organization linked to State Rep. Dwight Evans. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: PA GOP Accuses Wolf of Gun Gaffe (VIDEO): The Republican Party tries to draw comparisons to President Obama’s “bitter” comments.

PA Gov: Corbett Distances Himself from Perry After Indictment: Governor Corbett hopes to separate himself from the Texas Governor’s indictment as he copes with his own ethics scandals.

FBI Investigating Organization Linked with State Rep. Dwight Evans: The FBI has interviewed at least four people in connection with the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp., a nonprofit founded and supported by State Rep. Dwight Evans.

Statewide
PLS Reporter: Opposition to Common Core standards ongoing
PLS Reporter: Experts: heroin epidemic should have medical and legislative solutions
Capitolwire: New Turnpike compliance chief continuing to clean up embattled agency’s image
Capitolwire: Point of Order: Corbett and Wolf campaigns continue being loose with facts, when not doing so would still make their point
Capitolwire: Mellow, former Turnpike officials argue for dismissal of alleged ‘pay to play’ charges

Philadelphia
Commonwealth Confidential: Kane’s press office pick decides to stay put
The Inquirer: How ‘fat cats’ and Philly labor spats figure in DNC’s convention choice
Daily News: Strawberry Mansion on deck for new affordable housing
WHYY NewsWorks: Bucks community moves to secure flood insurance tax breaks

SEPA
Pottstown Mercury: Raise would bump Phoenixville superintendent’s annual salary to $230K
Bucks County Courier Times: Contract talks will make school year busy for four Lower Bucks County officials

Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review: Washington County judge, other officials named in whistleblower lawsuit
Tribune-Review: Former Senate leader’s lawyers say Turnpike corruption charges ‘double jeopardy’
Post Gazette: Former mayor Sophie Masloff remembered as ‘the embodiment of our city’
Early Returns: Rick Perry’s vanishing endorsement
Pittsburgh Business Times: Pennsylvania’s natural gas production hits 1.9 trillion cubic feet in first half of year
KDKA: Sophie Masloff Left Big Imprint On Local Politics

Southwest
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Road projects moving forward
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Council, authority say unified effort needed to combat crime
Altoona Mirror: County to decide leaders’ salaries
Observer-Reporter: Canon-McMillan parents criticize class sizes
Beaver County Times: Ousted councilman asks to keep seat during appeal
PublicSource: Some groups that pay disabled workers below minimum wage not complying with the law
AP: Environmentalist group says health registry needed
AP: Huge utility line upgrade faces opposition

NEPA
Standard Speaker: Luzerne officials blame tax hike on funding cuts
Standard Speaker: Schuylkill commissioners face tough decision with Rest Haven
News Item: Blight becomes beauty
Pocono Record: Public hearing will gather input on Milford Compressor Station changes
Pocono Record: $10 million grant will help build railroad bridge in Carbon County
Citizens Voice: Auditor general faults DEP for lack of orders
Citizens Voice: County to discuss capital funds at meeting
Citizens Voice: Man starts petition to halt W-B development
Citizens Voice: Hazleton mayor: Paying people to secure grants isn’t practical
Times-Tribune: Pittston Twp. residents want answers on police chief firing
The Times Leader: Residents discuss termination of Pittston Township police chief
The Times Leader: CHS data breach results in 4.5 million patients affected
The Times Leader: Pa. Health Department responds to accusations it mishandled queries on fracking

South Central
Harrisburg Patriot News: Harrisburg School District, with $9.4 million surplus, looks to save even more money
Harrisburg Patriot News: Pa. health officials promise better response to fracking-related health concerns; advocates say it’s not enough
York Daily Record: Major utility line could go through southcentral Pennsylvania
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Corbett shies from taking sides on pipeline expansion in letter to FERC

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Ousted education aide Ron Tomalis looking at enriched state pension
Morning Call: PA GOP consults the Hillary Clinton playbook
Morning Call: Activists call for probes into Ron Tomalis’ 25% pension boost as Gov. Tom Corbett’s higher education adviser
Reading Eagle: One in five Berks residents hasn’t had enough to eat
Express Times: Charlie Dent visits Central American children at KidsPeace, touts immigration reform bill

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Huge utility line upgrade faces opposition
Centre Daily Times: Brian Walker selected to fill open Bellefonte Borough Council seat
Onward State: Business Inside Ranks Penn State No. 8 Campus

Opinion
Citizens Voice: Time to tell DEP ‘no’
Times-Tribune: Demilitarize local police
Times-Tribune: Scranton acts against itself
Observer-Reporter: Misbegotten priorities and police militarization
Post Gazette: Colleges and cash: A judge’s NCAA ruling is justified but problematic
Tribune-Review: Rick Perry’s indictment: The real abuse
Tribune-Review: Pennsylvania families are caught in a game of cronies
Daily News: In Pennsylvania’s Legislature, the grab goes on
Daily News: Obstacle Courses
Bucks County Courier Times: What to do about student debt
Daily Local News: Compromise may turn VA mess around

Blogs
Commonwealth Foundation: School reserves offer pension reform opportunity
Keystone Politics: Sophie Masloff defends land value tax swap
Keystone State Education Coalition: Teaching is not a business
2 Political Junkies: Stop believing in evolution

PA-Gov: PA GOP Accuses Wolf of Gun Gaffe (VIDEO)

The Corbett campaign has been down in the polls for quite awhile, but the state’s Republican party is trying to find a way to change that by accusing Democratic nominee Tom Wolf of a major gaffe.

This morning, the PA GOP released a video which they assert shows Wolf insulting gun-owners last week at the Penn State Ag Progress Days.

The hastily assembled web video contrasts Corbett’s and Wolf’s Second Amendment records, and contains a short part of Wolf’s speech.

“By the way, I was going around to say ‘Hi’ to different people earlier before the speaker started and if you just thought I was just trying to be nice, it wasn’t that, I was looking for weapons,” Wolf says.

The video then cuts out, repeating the “looking for weapons” section. As a result, it is difficult to get any sense of context for the remark or what the reaction of the crowd was.

In a clip provided to PoliticsPA by the PA GOP that runs a couple of seconds after the web video, it appears that the crowd laughs at the joke, though you can judge for yourself.

The state Republican Party feels these remarks are similar to those made by then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 about how some people “get bitter and cling to guns.” According to the GOP, this proves that both Wolf and Obama are “looking down their noses” at gun owners.

“Tom Wolf’s comments exposed an unsettling truth: he shares Barack Obama’s passive disdain for Pennsylvania’s rural communities,” PA GOP Chair Rob Gleason said. “It’s troubling to learn that Tom Wolf thinks it’s funny to go ‘looking for weapons’ on Pennsylvania citizens  who just trying to enjoy their local summer event. Tom Wolf doesn’t view Pennsylvania’s gun owners as proud citizens of our communities; he views them as the easy targets of an offensive remark.”

Wolf campaign officials were dismissive towards the video, explaining that the candidate was clearly joking, fully supports the Second Amendment and that this is just an attempt by the Corbett team to distract from their poor economic record and administrative turmoil.

Regardless of whether you believe Wolf’s statement reveals anything or not, what is absolutely clear is that the gubernatorial campaign is exponentially heating up with fall just around the corner. So, expect many more of these kinds of attacks between now and November 4th.

FBI Investigating Organization Linked with State Rep. Dwight Evans

wolf-ad-evans“What do you not understand about the word no?”

That’s what State Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) said in response to requests for comments about the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp., or OARC. Evans, who founded the nonprofit organization designed to help the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, said he was not aware of any investigation by the FBI.

According to four individuals with adverse dealings with OARC, however, the FBI is snooping around OARC, focusing particularly on the organization’s finances.

“They indicated they were investigating multiple things, but they did not reveal what those were,” Peter Meadow, who was interviewed by the FBI about OARC, said. Meadow is a lawyer who represented Sadiki Travick, who co-owned a restaurant with OARC.

“They don’t give you much information,” Germantown publisher Foster said of the FBI agents “But I have to say I got the feeling there was activity going on. They focused a lot on nonprofits and certainly on OARC and their operations.” Foster’s neighborhood newspapers published articles critical of OARC.

Evans, a powerful state representative and a close Wolf ally, does not run OARC; in fact, he is not even a board member. What he has done as a legislator is help deliver tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to the nonprofit based in his 203rd district–$29 million in state funds since 2000.

Major questions have arisen, and perhaps prompted an FBI investigation, about the use of that money. A state investigation into OARC ended with the nonprofit giving $1.2 million back to the state government and forgoing an addition $1.8 million that would have gone to OARC. The organization admitted no wrongdoing as a part of the settlement. The City of Philadelphia claims that OARC still owes them $256,000 for jazz festivals held in 2010 and 2011. According to one confidential report submitted to the state Inspector General’s Office, OARC improperly used $12 million in state grants between 2006 and 2011.

One incident pointed out by the state investigators was state money used to promote Wine Down Wednesdays at OARC’s and Travick’s restaurant. In total, $110,000 over two years to sponsor this event at the restaurant.

“They asked questions about OARC and the money OARC allocated to the restaurant,” Travick said. “They wanted to know how the money was spent.”

The FBI may continue to ask questions about OARC; voters, meanwhile, may begin to ask questions about State Rep. Dwight Evans’ use of state money. Evans was Democratic Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee but was voted out in 2010 because his colleagues felt he was granting too much money to his own district.

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