By Greta Fenzl, Contributing Writer
With Labor Day in the past and the traditional start of campaign season upon us, some candidates are taking this opportunity to hit the ground running. In the race for Allegheny County Executive, the Raja camp has created a website attacking Rich Fitzgerald.
ShaleShakedown.com was launched by Raja to highlight Fitzpatrick’s actions while in office, particularly his correspondence with a shale industry leader asking for campaign contributions from Marcellus gas drillers – at the same time he was criticizing his opponent, Mark Flaherty, of being cozy with the industry.
Raja campaign spokesman James Genovese explained, “The voters of Allegheny County deserve to know about Rich’s unethical behavior. His shakedown of an entire industry is wholly inappropriate and unethical. Voters this fall will have a chance to end the corrupt policies that Fitzgerald has pursued for over a decade.”
But on the flip side, Fitzgerald’s campaign claims that Raja is only trying to cover up his own unethical behavior through this attack campaigning – that Raja’s earlier campaign efforts haven’t gotten him sufficient traction in the race, and he has resorted to attack campaigning to divert attention from any skeletons in his closet.
Not only was Raja previously found to be avoiding taxes on his two properties, the Fitzgerald campaign blasted, his business was cited by the Department of Labor for not paying minimum wage and overtime. As a result of the Department of Labor’s findings, Raja’s company was forced to pay $133,000 in back wages to the employees he was exploiting.
According to Fitzgerald’s campaign manager Mike Mikus, “By opening up with a negative attack ad, all voters are seeing from Raja are stale, tired campaign tactics from a candidate whose campaign is failing.”