CAP Debuts Sandusky Hit Against Santarsiero

A section from CAP’s anti-Santarsiero mailer

A conservative group is going where Republicans can’t, knocking state Rep. Steve Santarsiero over his vote for a bill that could have been used to fund a project for The Second Mile (but wasn’t). The bill was passed a month after the charity’s founder, Jerry Sandusky, was indicted on charges of child sexual abuse.

The mailer, from the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, listed among other accusations of reckless spending: “the most IRRESPONSIBLE project Santarsiero voted for was to give over $3 million of borrowed tax dollars to convicted criminal Jerry Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation AFTER it was revealed that it was under investigation for being the place Jerry Sandusky used to fund his future child victims.”

Santarsiero, of Bucks County, said the claim is an outright falsehood stemming from a misunderstanding about the appropriations process. He noted that not a single dime went to Second Mile.

“None of that money ever went to Second Mile because no money was never released to them. They never commenced that project,” Santarsiero said. “To cite that bill is completely erroneous.”

The Pa. House passed the bill in question, the budget for capital projects, on December 19, 2011 – more than a month after Sandusky was indicted.

The bill didn’t actually allocate spending for individual projects. Technically, it authorized the Governor to reimburse spending on projects that had already been approved (in the case of Second Mile, back in 2010).

However, while the December 2011 bill and its fiscal note simply named a lump sum for all reimbursements statewide, it did refer back to an itemized list of such projects: this list, which includes the $3 million allocation for a Second Mile youth center.

If lawmakers had looked back at the list, they could have (and probably would have) offered an amendment specifically striking that item. They didn’t.

In any case, they also might have have concluded that it was unnecessary. A month before the vote but after Sandusky’s indictment, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office announced that it was putting the Second Mile project on hold indefinitely.

CAP spokesman Leo Knepper says the real problem isn’t that Second Mile got any money. The problem is that legally, if not for the Governor’s decision, it could have.

“It’s their fault they didn’t look at it,” he said of the projects list. Knepper added his group’s criticism over the Second Mile building is just a way to get at an underlying issue: the way the legislature allocates money.

“The problem is what they’re doing in the first place,” he said. “We shouldn’t be sending tax dollars to private enterprises anyway; this is the kind of risk you run.”

Santarsiero said CAP’s use of Sandusky as a political attack was out of line.

“I think that people see through this stuff. But the point is that, this is such an outrageous claim, and such a blatant use of a horrible tragedy for a completely unfounded political attack that it needs to be called out as such,” Santarsiero said.

“I’m the father of two young boys. This is offensive.”

This was the second CAP mailer to make the claim against Santarsiero.

It’s likely an attack that other candidates will experience soon. Knepper declined to comment when asked about CAP’s plans in other state legislative districts, but hinted, “Let’s just say, if you’re a vulnerable Democrat and you voted for this, don’t be surprised to hear about it.”

The issue is one that could only be brought up by a group like CAP, which is known for supporting primary challenges to moderate Republicans. GOP campaign committees, on the other hand, cannot attack this vote without indicating their own members. The bill in question passed the Pa. Senate unanimously and the Pa. House 119 to 75 on a bipartisan basis: 69 Republicans and 50 Democrats voted yes, 38 Republicans and 37 Democrats voted no.

It’s not the first time, even this week, that the Sandusky case has emerged as a political issue. On Wednesday, Pa. House Democrats tried to push a resolution calling for a federal review of the way then-Attorney General Tom Corbett handled the investigation. House Republicans left the floor to avoid addressing the issue, and within hours Democratic House candidates across Pa. were bashing their opponents on the subject.


So why Santarsiero?

The 31st district has been a perennial target for Republicans in moderate Bucks County. That’s partly why GOP leaders supported Helen Bosley, a moderate former Planned Parenthood employee, to run against Santarsiero.

But Bosley lost to conservative Anne Chapman in the April primary, thanks in part to CAP’s support for Chapman. Now the party establishment is less excited about their chances in the 31st House district, and it appears CAP is hoping to fill the gap.

Here’s the mailer:

CAP Santarsiero Mailer

9 Responses

  1. This is unbelievable. I don’t even live in Bucks but everything I’ve ever heard about Steve Santarsiero has indicated that he is a savvy player with a bright future. How on earth did he not consider the political implications of this vote?

  2. This is simple. Rep. Santarsiero voted YEA to fund Second Mile AND he got a baseball field for Lower Makefield. He knew what he was voting for. Selling out kids….oh well, that’s politics. This is truly disgusting. I hope Kathleen Kane wins and opens these files.

  3. Note to Republicans Primary 2014
    Expect to see Santarsiero mailers in 2014 primaries. Sam Smith, for example, barely escaped a primary defeat by underfunded unknown in three way race. and did receive only 49.1% of the vote

    The media in House District is less than informative about Sam Smith’s record.

    I might add that Sam “What Me, Worry” Smith signed the same $10,000, 000 computer contract that sent John Perzel to jail.

    And so many others. CAP is recruiting candidates and I expect will have 100s of 1000s of dollars to run primaries.

    John McGinnis is only the beginning.

    et tu, Mike Vereb? FYI We can afford to lose a few Republican seats and still hold the majority.

  4. Here is the:
    The House Vote – A Roll Call of Shame — December 19, 2011

    Here is –
    RACP Project List 2011-2012 funded by borrowing authorized by Act 130 of 2011
    note line 124 Second Mile Learning Center $3,000,000 July 20, 2011
    The documentary evidence is irrefutably and crystal clear that Rep. Santarsiero voted to give $3,000,000 taxpayer dollars to fund the organization which Jerry Sandusky founded, an enabler which fronted for him as he raped a child and serially many others.

    Jerry Sandusky had been arrested about a month and half before. It is unclear why Rep. Santarsiero voted to fund Jerry Sandusky’s organization but he did.

    How can any of those, all of Republican Leadership included, deny the documentary evidence.

  5. Wow, isnt’ this the pot calling the kettle black! I ran against Santarsiero in 2010 and he only bested my by a mere 162 votes.

    Steve must forget how he, Main Street Values PAC (funded by George Soros front groups and the PSEA), and the HDCC blatantly LIED about my voting record in Newtown Township over and over again.

    They all claimed I was a big spender and a leading advocate of a new municipal building that cost $10 million.

    The truth: I was the ONLY Supervisor of a board of 5 members that not only voted against constructing the building but also voted against taking out the $10 million bond to pay for the building. After that I refused to support any Township budget that raised property taxes to pay for the building.

    We pointed this fact out to all groups and to Mr. Santarsiero in October 2010 but they ignored us and continued with the blatant lies over and over again.

    Mr. Santarsiero has always had a serious problem with the truth and erupts when his own real voting record is revealed. He continually campaigns as a fiscal conservative who has cut spending in order to barely win elections in a district with a Republican registration advantage to hide his liberal spending record.

    I believe there are well more than 400 voters in this district who will switch their votes in 2012 as they have been fooled for the last time by this charlatan.

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