Supreme Court Strikes Guzzardi From PA-Gov Ballot

Guzzardi

Guzzardi

The Supreme Court today overruled the lower court’s ruling in the case of Bob Guzzardi and has ordered him off of the Republican ballot for governor.

Read the decision below:

AND NOW, this 1st day of May, 2014, the Order of the Commonwealth Court is REVERSED. The Commonwealth Court erred in applying nunc pro tunc constructs to
excuse what it perceived to be a non-negligent failure to timely file a statement of financial interests with the Ethics Commission, as required by Section 1104(b)(1) of the
Ethics Act. See 65 Pa.C.S. §1104(b)(1). The untimely filing of the statement constitutes a fatal defect that precludes a candidate’s appearance on the ballot. See 65 Pa.C.S. §1104(b)(3) (“Failure to file the statement in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall, in addition to any other penalties provided, be a fatal defect to a petition to appear on the ballot.”); In re Nomination of Paulmier, 937 A.2d 364, 371 (Pa. 2007) (“[W]e now hold that the fatality rule announced in Section 1104 of the Ethics Act was intended by the Legislature to bar only those candidates from the ballot who fail to file statements of financial interests or who file them in an untimely manner.”) (emphasis
added).

It is further ORDERED that Robert Guzzardi’s name is to be STRICKEN from the primary ballot for the Republican Party nomination for the Office of Governor of Pennsylvania.

 

Guzzardi emailed the following statement in response to the ruling:

I just received word that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled me ineligible to be a candidate for Governor on the Republican May 20th Primary ballot.

During the course of this campaign I have learned that I am not in control. I will find out what comes next for me. What happens is supposed to happen and there is something for me to learn.
I have been honored with support from fine people who did not know me and yet helped me.
Thank you all who supported and helped me. I am grateful.
Let us see what is next for all of us.
Sincerely and with deep emotion bob guzzardi.

“Today, the State Supreme Court ruled that Bob Guzzardi did not meet the statutory requirements to have his name on the ballot for Governor. Our focus has been and remains on working to reelect the Corbett-Cawley ticket so that they can continue to move Pennsylvania forward in a positive direction,” said PA GOP Communications Director Megan Sweeney.

Elections lawyer Adam Bonin gave a different reaction.

“I’m a little surprised by this ruling, because Guzzardi presented a pretty convincing case below that Department of State staff gave his team incorrect information when he showed up with his papers. What today’s decision confirms is that the failing to meet the ‘two filings’ requirement is one of the few rock-solid ways you can still be kicked off the ballot, and I look forward to seeing the Court’s full opinion to understand why they’re maintaining this position.”

 

29 thoughts on “Supreme Court Strikes Guzzardi From PA-Gov Ballot

  1. I am one of many grassroots conservatives that will not be voting in the Primary nor General Election for Tom Corbett nor other establishment PA Republicans. This is absurd that the PA GOP is spending party money to squash conservative Republicans and alienating voters from choosing the best candidates. If Guzzardi was left in the Primary, Corbett would have no doubt won the election and most voters would accept the results and backed Corbett in the General Election. Not anymore. Unless Corbett and PA GOP pass Paycheck Protection, Liquor Privatization, School Choice, end Common Core and stop Obamacare expansion in the next 2 months, conservatives are sitting home in November.

  2. If Corbett did what Wolf did and McCord hit him with this in the general, the only thing we’d be hearing from you guys would be egging him on.

  3. Dr. Bob, As has been put to me in the past: Sometimes you need to deal in real. Come back to Earth and get something done.

  4. It is apt to provide follow-up of the mini-interaction with a self-proclaimed “Reformer” who has a statewide reputation that has been assiduously created; in reaction to the prior barb [allowing that recipient to try on the "shoe" to detect whether it "fit"], the following was written: “You guys chose to go right for the top of the ticket….well you can be a reformer and still choose to pick your battles; there are a lot of other races going on.”

    This individual had communicated directly with Guzzardi, weeks ago, definitively stating disinterest in linking statewide pursuits; thus, for all to read [and to sniff], the retroactive rationalization provided to me is disseminated for all to appreciate.

    Such statements carry profound implications regarding the level of intensity that some people choose to direct @ such efforts; they also reveal the intent of some people to find it more comfortable, ultimately, to ingratiate themselves quietly with the GOP-Establishment that they publicly had lambasted.

  5. @ Adam B:

    Your double-posting [claiming "Dr. Sklaroff, you are making no sense....Nothing has been debunked"] is oxymoronic, as will now be proven.

    You cite statute that, presumably, you feel Guzzardi should have unearthed ["The Ethics Act, 65 P.S. § 1104(b)(1), reads: 'Any candidate for a State-level public office shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission on or before the last day for filing a petition to appear on the ballot for election. A copy of the statement of financial interests shall also be appended to such petition....(b)(3): No petition to appear on the ballot for election shall be accepted by the respective State or local election officials unless the petition has appended thereto a statement of financial interests as set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2). Failure to file the statement in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall, in addition to any other penalties provided, be a fatal defect to a petition to appear on the ballot.”].

    Note that the statute mandates the petitions shall not be accepted…despite the fact that they were accepted! Thus, the fault lies with the Department of State, for its personnel violated statute…and Guzzardi was victimized by the “bait and switch” in the process.

  6. Critics of Guzzardi’s nomination papers mishap need to acquaint themselves personally with this deliberately arcane and completely politicized PA process. Look no further than Harrisburg mayoral candidate Nevin Mindlin last year, whose entire candidacy was tossed on the most ridiculous, manufactured, and picayune of excuses. Mindlin was an independent -minded Republican who had the audacity to buck bi-partisan parasitic politics, and thus was ensnared in faux Red Tape as anyone in his role was bound to be. I don’t know Guzzardi. But I do think he’s entitled to run if he wants, and many other states make it much easier to run for elected office, which is good for democracy. PA bipartisan establishment deliberately makes independents/ outcasts/ gadflies/ charismatics getting on the ballot either legally impossible or impossibly expensive (successfully defending an otherwise legally sound filing). No matter what a “threatening” candidate does when filing, he is bound to be challenged, and there’s no disincentive for that behavior. Challenges delay fundraising, delay volunteers, delay interviews, cast a shadow over a candidate, irrespective of how cheesy the challenge is. This is bad for the citizens, bad for democracy. It is good for insulated party establishments that have turned politics into a self-serving financial enterprise. This has to change. If I am elected to the state senate in two years, this will be a priority. There – that just earned me a ballot challenge! :-D Bring it, boys! We will be ready and waiting for ya….

  7. If Guzzardi wants to improve Pennsylvania, I guarantee this will work and he MAY not even have to spend a dime, but because he COULD, it makes this threat credible. Simply threaten to outspend the SRCC in whatever primary they decide to get involved in. That’s it. Whether a pronthonotary race or special senate election. There’s the necrophilia, PAINDY

  8. And then (b)(3):

    “No petition to appear on the ballot for election shall be accepted by the respective State or local election officials unless the petition has appended thereto a statement of financial interests as set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2). Failure to file the statement in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall, in addition to any other penalties provided, be a fatal defect to a petition to appear on the ballot.”

  9. Dr. Sklaroff, you are making no sense. The Ethics Act, 65 P.S. § 1104(b)(1), reads:

    “Any candidate for a State-level public office shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission on or before the last day for filing a petition to appear on the ballot for election. A copy of the statement of financial interests shall also be appended to such petition.”

    Nothing has been debunked.

  10. It is desirable to “complete the records” by providing the text of my response to an activist who expressed condolences regarding the action of the Supremes; the thrust thereof is directed @ those who absented themselves from this effort [you KNOW who you are!]:

    “Yes, we worked hard and, as my most recent input via PoliticsPA noted, we were quite surprised at how many people (who dub themselves “reformers”) failed to provide a modicum of assistance.”

  11. @ DD

    After having re-read the comments posted while I was composing my reaction to the Supremes, I find nothing of-substance worthy of clarification other than to express appreciation for the advice regarding hyperlinks graciously provided by DD; Guzzardi has acquitted himself professionally and has ID’ed electoral problems with Corbett that cry for rectification [and/or will persist, regardless].

    @ Adam B

    I haven’t read the opinion, but if your portrayal thereof is its gravamen ["Because the Court decided that Guzzardi effectively had never filed his nomination petitions, it didn’t need to reach the alternative grounds for reviewing the decision below (occupation, signatures, etc.)"], then it’s problematic on its face; he indeed “filed,” and had done so “effectively” with regard to the entity with which he had “filed.” The Ethics Commission [pseudo-]requirement [already debunked, based upon updated procedures in the Department of State that had not yet prompted the Ethics Commission to modify/simplify its procedures accordingly] was mutually exclusive; it it were otherwise, the quoted-statute would so-state.

    Regarding your second point {minor typo repaired} as to the supplied-requests ["The filing instructions were contained on the form. See page 4 — "ethics.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1385975/sec_-_1_statement_of_financial_interests_rev_01_14_pdf . They were also contained in the packet DOS provided with the nomination petitions"], I only reviewed the latter [on the Saturday-night prior to the filing-dates]; again, noted is the fact that the instructions from the DoS did not contain deadline info.

    Overall, as you can probably tell, I’m unmoved by any of the aforementioned, for the fact remains that the requisite document was filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a timely fashion…and EVERYONE (including the politicos that wished only to silence him and the bloggers who revel in spewing-forth negativity) knows that fact.

  12. Dr. Sklaroff’s representations are wrong.

    1. Because the Court decided that Guzzardi effectively had never filed his nomination petitions, it didn’t need to reach the alternative grounds for reviewing the decision below (occupation, signatures, etc.)

    2. The filing instructions were contained on the form. See page 4 — http://www.ethics.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1385975/sec_-_1_statement_of_financial_interests_rev_01_14_pdf . They were also contained in the packed DOS provided with the nomination petitions.

  13. Sancho-
    “Guzzardi’s candidacy certainly provoked predictable:”
    1) empty slot on ballot
    2) lack of enthusiasm
    3) tea party nonsensical positions
    4) Bob’s only votes would be write-ins
    5) Bob is the “mouse that roared”

    Sancho, for future reference, if you just remove the h.t.t.p part of the link, with the slashes, it won’t get delayed in posting.

  14. Guzzardi’s candidacy certainly provoked predictable emergence of the usual buzzards, but it is desirable to note key-details regarding what happened [although I have not yet read the Opinion].

    First, it seems the focus was solely upon the allegedly “fatal” omission; the petitions were otherwise upheld and his self-definition of his occupation was not challenged.

    Second, as I wrote earlier [and as was confirmed with I spoke with a lawyer who works @ the Department of State], the instructions acquired by candidates who file did NOT state that there is a definable deadline for double-filing of the ethics [financial] statement; thus, the confusion reasonably experienced by Guzzardi [as per testimony] was reflected in that of the personnel who were charged with accepting his application, for his paperwork [the filing-fee, the petitions, the cover-affidavit, the $-statement] would have been returned had there been any anomaly detected.

    Third, also, as I wrote earlier, statutes that conflict are not always concomitantly rewritten and, here, the legislative intent of the mandate for an Ethics Commission filing was 100% satisfied by his filing with the Department of State [for his database was immediately placed on-line, for alltheworld to scrutinize].

    Fourth, therefore, the Supremes demonstrated [for whatever reason] willful “blindness” to the real-life manifestations of the statutes they were sworn to uphold; here, conflict between those governing the Ethics Commission and the Department of State should have been resolved in favor of the good-faith effort manifest by the candidate.

    Fifth, although he has aggressively eschewed acquiring donations, Guzzardi will not oppose those who would promote his candidacy as a write-in [which will be how the absentee-ballots will be handled].

    Sixth, for elaborative comment regarding what transpired, the inquisitive reader may wish to consult

    billlawrenceonline.co m
    /guzzardi-decision-revealed-fear/

    [the hyperlink is broken-up to preclude delay in the uploading of this comment]

    As a result, Guzzardi has become ensconced in a position whereby he has “standing” to critique the GOP-Establishment; some may conclude [for many reasons included on this webpage] that Corbett has “won the ‘battle’ but risks losing the ‘war,’ as a result.”

  15. The point about him getting wrong information was a finding of fact in the case.
    The one dissenting judge felt that was a mitigating factor.

    Like I have been pointing out to team Quixote, it’s luck of the draw with judges. They got lucky with judge on petitions. Didn’t get lucky with other judges on this.

  16. Guzzardi’s campaign, when not directly insulting voters to their faces, was an insult to all Pennsylvanians in its insincerity. “Protest vote” indeed!

    I wholeheartedly second Mark T Grove’s comments below. Good riddance, Mr. Guzzardi. Perhaps the Tea Party groups will let you speak at their rallies now that you’ve been “victimized” by the “establishment.” Guzzardi can tell them that his getting thrown off the ballot had absolutely nothing to do with his own incompetence and everything to do with the “party machine,” thereby keeping the fires of the malcontents smoldering, if not burning quite as brightly as he had hoped.

  17. It is amazing that people are pretending Guzzardi is the victim of something. He did not follow the rules. The statement in this piece claiming he got wrong information is laughable. Here is an idea want to run for the highest office in the state, learn what the hell you need to do to mount a credible campaign. Mr Guzzardi never had any intention of leading this state or solving problems. His plan was to use his campaign to bash the GOP. Thankfully the court said the laws apply to all.

  18. THIS WAS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. READ THE RULES WHICH GUAZZARDI SAID HE DID NOT!

  19. BOB needs to run a write-in campaign. GUZZARDI-got it! Guzzardi does not equal necrophilia. This state cannot afford 4 more years of necrophiliacs and their zombies.

  20. Bob Guzzardi has become the JOHN BROWN’S BODY of the conservative movement and all those Pennsylvanians who don’t want 4 more years of necrophilia by the Republican consulting class. GUZZARDI’S TRUTH WILL GO MARCHING ON! Neither Corbett, Brabender, Gleason nor the Bakers and Nutts can stop the truth spoken by Guzzardi from being heard! http://youtu.be/bSSn3NddwFQ

  21. Unsanctioned R

    Yeah. I guess Sancho is going to criticize me as wrong for my 20% prediction. :-)

    And I won’t get any credit for my original prediction that Bob wouldn’t be on the ballot. LOL.

  22. The apparatchiks have strangled democracy in its crib with red tape wielded by political hacks. Both parties conspired to deny the voters a real choice and an authentic voice. You can pick from dozens of brands of cereal with many different ingredients but pennsylvania only offers two brands of candidates made by the same caste of cronies, consultants and lobbyists.

  23. Since the GOP has denied me a choice, I am going to write in “Remember Sandusky” in the general. I had been planning to put a clothes pin on my noise and vote for Corbett in November, after having registered what would have been a protest vote in May. Since my May venting was taken from me, I will return the favor to Mr. Corbett in the general. Not that it matters, becaus Tom Wolf is the next governor. Now though maybe it will be a landslide.

  24. When the Department of State personnel give wrong filing information to a candidate running in opposition to their boss, it raises thoughts that maybe there is something more there than meets the eye. Granted, the candidate running for Governor ought to know how to file his petition, but it does make you wonder.

  25. Actually this decision may work to Corbett’s disadvantage in November. Guzzardi on the ballot gave disgruntled Republicans an opportunity to easily get out their frustrations and cast a vote against Corbett when it really didn’t count in the primary. Come general election time they could then feel good about voting for Corbett having been able to send their “message” in the primary.

  26. Sancho and Don Guzzardi-

    I guess you are off after all and have to tilt at windmills elsewhere.

    Ironically, I agree IN PART with the dissenting opinion that it wasn’t completely Bob’s fault since the State Dept gave him bad information. However, if he thought it was an issue, he should have filed anyway to be safe or gotten independent confirmation.

    But, it also shows a puff candidate not ready to run a large state with its many legal complexities, if he can’t even get on the ballot and fill out the proper forms.

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