Daily News: Petition fraud could give Meehan a bad namee

It began last month with one forged signature.

Terry Bradley, the wife of an Upper Darby Democratic campaign strategist, said she didn’t sign former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan’s nominating petition to run as the Republican candidate in Delaware County’s 7th Congressional District.

And she’s not the only one.

A deeper look at Meehan’s petitions reveals what appears to be a pattern of potentially fraudulent activity that could result in criminal charges.

Last month, after Meehan’s neighbors in Drexel Hill told him someone had forged their names on his petitions, he gave county District Attorney G. Michael Green a stack of questionable petitions purportedly circulated by Upper Darby GOP activist Paul Summers.

State Rep. Bryan Lentz, the likely Democratic nominee in the congressional race, is trying to get Meehan kicked off the ballot, claiming that thousands of Meehan’s signatures are defective.

Even if Meehan survives the court challenge, the criminal investigation into his petitions could dog him for months and hinder the National Republican Congressional Committee’s efforts to take back the seat being vacated by Democrat Joe Sestak.

Green, who contributed $1,000 to Meehan’s campaign last year, referred the case this week to state Attorney General Tom Corbett. His investigators won’t have to dig too deep before red flags start popping up:

* Rita Lamb’s name appears on Meehan’s petition – three times. But she told theĀ Daily News she didn’t sign any of them. “No I did not sign them, absolutely not,” she said.

* Domenic Pino said that he signed Meehan’s petition this month and that it had been circulated by Steve Valerio, a Ridley Park official. But John McNichol, the longtime chairman of the Upper Darby GOP, is listed as the circulator on that petition.

McNichol conceded yesterday that he hadn’t been the circulator, yet he signed a sworn affidavit claiming that he had been.

“That petition was dropped off,” McNichol said. “To the best of my knowledge, [Valerio] said, ‘I forgot to sign the petition.’ ”

Read the full Daily News article here

April 1st, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments

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