CAP Slams McIlhinney Over Booze in New TV Ad (With Video)

The fight over state liquor stores is now on the air. The conservative group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania Wednesday launched an ad that aims to pressure state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) into supporting privatization.

“Senator Chuck McIlhinney has a long history of siding with big government special interest groups,” the narrator says. “First, McIlhinney voted for a massive pension increase for himself and government employees. Then Chuck hit taxpayers with a 10% income tax hike.”

“Now McIlhinney is at it again – siding with union bosses who want to keep taxpayers footing the bill for Pennsylvania’s broken government-run liquor store system.”

Harrisburg-based CAP has a history of going after moderate Republicans in recent years, including state Senators, on television, on the radio and via mail pieces.

CAP McIlhinney adAs the 2014 campaign cycle approaches, few members of the legislature has as much of the spotlight as McIlhinney. He chairs the Senate committee which will shape that chamber’s version of a bill that would sell off the state’s liquor stores and is himself a swing vote on the measure.

It’s a major priority for Gov. Tom Corbett, who based much of his budget math on the proposal and is keen to deliver on a big agenda item. The measure polls very well across the board and has long been a policy goal of the Governor’s conservative base.

Supporters say the bill would be more convenient for consumers and eliminate a non-essential government activity. Opponents say the move would threaten thousands of jobs. Various interests – from existing distributors to gas stations to big retailers – all have a stake in the myriad details of the plan.

But McIlhinney said he would have voted against a version of the bill passed by the state House a few weeks ago because it would disadvantage small businesses – namely beer distributors – which have adapted to current rules.


Update: McIlhinney’s campaign swung back against CAP, calling the ad a misfire.

“It’s odd that the day after Senator McIlhinney appeared on the Dom Giordano show touting privatization and how to make the House bill even stronger that CAP would choose to run such a negative, baseless attack,” his campaign said in a statement. “It’s obvious CAP is nothing more than a front for big special interests who would profit from privatization at the expense of our local small businesses. CAP’s misguided effort to distort the legislative process in favor of special interests will not deter Senator McIlhinney from doing what’s right for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and consumers.”

You can listen to his Giordano interview here. Notably, McIlhinney was bullish about privatizing the liquor stores, characterizing the House plan and Gov. Corbett’s plan as watered down. He compared the rush to pass HB 790 to Obamacare.

“I fully intend to put forth a proposal to privatize the state stores,” he said.

“My proposal that I wanted to do was clearly a privatization and close the state stores. Did not have the support of the unions.”


It could be an opening salvo by CAP against the Senator. The group makes a practice of supporting conservative challengers in Republican primaries. Newtown Township Supervisor Rob Ciervo has already threatened to challenge McIlhinney over the liquor issue.

Ciervo met with CAP and some of its major donors at the Pa. Leadership Conference last weekend.

The group’s Executive Director Leo Knepper called the ad buy “modest,” but suggested his group would sustain it as long as necessary.

“Our hope is that by educating the Senator’s constituents, they will call his office and voice their support for privatization,” Knepper said. “We are buying ad time on a weekly basis. We have the resources available to support the ad campaign through the entire summer and beyond.”

McIlhinney’s Bucks County district is generally safe for Republicans, although a bloody primary could open the door for a strong Democrat.

Though it lies in the expensive broadcast television market, three factors make it possible for CAP to have a noteworthy impact in SD-10 with relatively light spending.

First, southeast Pa. is one of the best places in the country to use cable TV ads. Cable saturation (the relative percentage of voters who have cable subscriptions versus broadcast alone) is much higher there than the state or nation as a whole.

Second, 90% of registered Republicans in the 10th district reside in just three cable zones according to Labels & Lists: Central Bucks (41%), Lower Bucks (24%) and Upper Bucks (23%).

Finally, the viewership CAP wants to target is conservative. That means they could reach most of their target audience with a Fox News-only ad campaign.

Here is the full transcript:

Senator Chuck McIlhinney has a long history of siding with big government special interest groups.

First, McIlhinney voted for a massive pension increase for himself and government employees.

Then Chuck hit taxpayers with a 10% income tax hike.

Now McIlhinney is at it again – siding with union bosses who want to keep taxpayers footing the bill for Pennsylvania’s broken government-run liquor store system.

Call Senator McIhinney.

Tell him to start siding with taxpayers and finally get the government out of the booze business.

10 Responses

  1. Since Senator McIlhinney made the accusation exactly who are the “special interests” that CAP is working for?

  2. Guzzardi,
    So if you are successful but active politically in your county you are a cartelist, but Wal-Mart and Costco are not Cartels?

    Do you actually use the brain in your head or do you use you backside as a bullhorn?

    HB 790 creates a Turnpike Commission type of board to “decide” who can and who can’t have a liquor license. It also freezes out small business oppurtunities as the entry fee is over $450K in the most profitable counties.

    HB 790 is not privatization, it is corporate welfare and the revenue went from $2 Billion down to a now $800 million in just over a year.

  3. Sen. McIlhinney has long np been supported by Beer Distrbutor Cartelist BucksCo’s Pat Deon who profits from government imposed cartel at expense of economic freedom.

  4. Retail privatization is not getting government out of liquor, wine and beer business. It maintains the monopsony and the beer cartel.

    HB 790 was a compromise itself but one we can live with.

    Note that Sen. McIlinney is financed by Senate Republican Leadership and Unions – which are both opposing privatization and are both pressing for more government spending.

    So far Senate has done nothing but block privatization. Gov. Corbett weak leadership is exposed. Of course, he is financed bt Obama Rebpndell Comcast Democrats so we are not surprised he is supporting Democratic positions.

    Note that Ray Zabourney has never lost an uncontested election and Charlie Gerow managed Linda Thompson’s campaign.

  5. PeteC – The so called “profit” of the PLCB will be made up by license fees, which the PLCB doesn’t pay. Business taxes which the PLCB doesn’t pay. Increased liquor and sales taxes from greater sales due to convenience. Increased sales from less border bleed. Not having to give the PLCB $110 million interest free loan every year. Not having the taxpayers on the hook for future pension costs forever and that there will be more people working. They may not be union jobs but there will be more of them.

    Observer & Bob – Senator McIlhinney supported RETAIL privatization with the state retaining wholesale operations. That is not acceptable. Even though in the interview he said he hasn’t made up his mind he also didn’t say that he changed it from what it was previously.

  6. I am still waiting to hear any reason justifying why the 55 million in annual profit from LCB sales should be transfered to the owners of the privatized liquor stores at a complete loss to the Commonwealth.

  7. Again Guzzardi is behind the computer screen and pontificating like he is relevant and knows whats going on. He is a useful idiot who has no clue about the Bucks Electorate and never has.

    In fact he does not financially support his chosen candidates spending only a token amount on a fundraiser ticket.

    As for McIlhinney, I am willing to bet that his plan will expand far beyond the corporate welfare of HB 790. I can see Chuck making it completely legal for any licensee to sell any quantity of any product they are licensed to sell. Completely eliminating the need for State Stores all together.

    It also will be far less costly as well.

  8. Hack Observer spins…Clearly, McIlhinney proposing “modernization”.
    ” This is modernization in the reform of licensing,” McIlhinney said Tuesday. “It’s a more achievable way to move toward better access, better selection than to throw our hands up and sell everything everywhere.”

  9. Can the people at CAP read? Or listen?
    Or are your conspiracy theories all you care about.

    Senator McIlhinney supported privatization in an Op-Ed a month ago. And if you listen to the Giordano show linked above, it’s clear his proposal is better than HB790 that you insist is the end all and be all.

    Who do you really work for CAP? It isn’t the public, so it must be someone else.

    Maybe Senator McIlhinney is correct — you are nothing more than a special interest. And that’s the last thing PA needs more of.

  10. Sen. McIlhinney’s obstructionism is jeopardizing Tom Corbett’s re election.

    Team Republican needs to produce and Liquor Privatization is cornerstone of Tom Corbett’s primary campaign. With a win, he loses. Corbett’s incompetent, political hack and Val DiGiorgio crony Carole Aichele has failed to implement Voter ID.

    Sen McIlhinney is financed by BucksCo Beer Cartelist Crony Capitalist Pat Deon and the Gene DiGirolamo Union network.

    The grassroots needs to mobilize against Sen. McIlhinney. This is a test of grassroots leadership. All of us. If the crony capitalist and union Republican entrenched incumbents win on this key vote, grassroots will lose and Tom Corbett loses grassroots support.

    Corbett Lt. Gov. Is a creation of Deon DiGirolamo BucksCo hacks and despite his public face on liquor privation, some wonder what goes on in private phone calls and behind closed doors.

    Anything less than HB 790 is unacceptable. “Modernization” is NOT acceptable. Amendments in Senate to HB 790 are NOT acceptable.

    Performance Counts! Team Republican needs to produce.Now!

Comments are closed.

  • When Should The Special Elections For The PA House Be Held?

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