More Evasive Answers and Denials from Washington Politician Joe Sestak on Earmark Scandal

Where’s the Accountability, Joe?
Allentown – As reporters across Pennsylvania asked Congressman Sestak to clarify why he earmarked $350,000 for a forbidden pork project, Congressman Sestak offered vague answers that only prompted more questions.  It is time for Congressman Sestak to come forward and live up to the “accountability” he talks about so often on the campaign trail.
This Saturday, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Congressman Sestak violated House rules by requesting an earmark for a for-profit organization while surreptitiously trying to funnel the taxpayer dollars through a non-profit group.  The $350,000 earmark for a wind turbine project is being requested by an atheist organization called the Thomas Paine Foundation, but is actually meant to be spent by the for-profit corporation, New Way Energy LLC.
Yesterday, Congressman Sestak told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review through a spokesman that “the office did its appropriate due diligence” and blamed Drew Devitt, head of the Thomas Paine Foundation and New Way Energy LLC, for misleading Sestak.  But Devitt denied this accusation, saying “I don’t believe I misled them.”
So who is telling the truth, and why won’t Congressman Sestak just give a straight answer for once about these pressing questions:
1) Does Congressman Sestak believe that the Thomas Paine Foundation misrepresented itself even though the organization’s head denies any attempt to mislead?
2) What due diligence did Sestak do that utterly failed to figure out what the Pennsylvania press easily figured out – that this was a clear circumvention of House rules?
3) Why did Sestak think it was a good idea to send tax dollars to an atheist group with no experience with wind turbines to conduct a wind turbine demonstration project?
4) Will Sestak rescind this illegal earmark request?
5) Will Sestak return $119,000 in campaign contributions in violation of his ethics pledge?
Back in March of this year, Congressman Sestak praised the House ban on for-profit earmarks, saying “the House has taken a good first step, and the Senate should follow suit.” (Washington Examiner, 03/10/10)  But now, Congressman Sestak has not only violated the House ban, he is desperately trying to cover his tracks instead of being up-front and accountable.
“After months of talking about ‘accountability’ on the campaign trail, it looks like Congressman Sestak is trading in his vaunted accountability for political hypocrisy,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik.  “Congressman Sestak talks about reform, but one earmark scandal after another has shown that he is just another Washington insider politician.  Congressman Sestak needs to come forward and tell the whole story about his wind turbine earmark for an atheist group.  Either Congressman Sestak isn’t telling Pennsylvanians the whole truth about his latest earmark violation or his office is guilty of gross incompetence – either one is an affront to Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

Where’s the Accountability, Joe? Allentown – As reporters across Pennsylvania asked Congressman Sestak to clarify why he earmarked $350,000 for a forbidden pork project, Congressman Sestak offered vague answers that only prompted more questions.  It is time for Congressman Sestak to come forward and live up to the “accountability” he talks about so often on the campaign trail. This Saturday, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Congressman Sestak violated House rules by requesting an earmark for a for-profit organization while surreptitiously trying to funnel the taxpayer dollars through a non-profit group.  The $350,000 earmark for a wind turbine project is being requested by an atheist organization called the Thomas Paine Foundation, but is actually meant to be spent by the for-profit corporation, New Way Energy LLC. Yesterday, Congressman Sestak told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review through a spokesman that “the office did its appropriate due diligence” and blamed Drew Devitt, head of the Thomas Paine Foundation and New Way Energy LLC, for misleading Sestak.  But Devitt denied this accusation, saying “I don’t believe I misled them.” So who is telling the truth, and why won’t Congressman Sestak just give a straight answer for once about these pressing questions: 1) Does Congressman Sestak believe that the Thomas Paine Foundation misrepresented itself even though the organization’s head denies any attempt to mislead? 2) What due diligence did Sestak do that utterly failed to figure out what the Pennsylvania press easily figured out – that this was a clear circumvention of House rules? 3) Why did Sestak think it was a good idea to send tax dollars to an atheist group with no experience with wind turbines to conduct a wind turbine demonstration project? 4) Will Sestak rescind this illegal earmark request? 5) Will Sestak return $119,000 in campaign contributions in violation of his ethics pledge?  Back in March of this year, Congressman Sestak praised the House ban on for-profit earmarks, saying “the House has taken a good first step, and the Senate should follow suit.” (Washington Examiner, 03/10/10)  But now, Congressman Sestak has not only violated the House ban, he is desperately trying to cover his tracks instead of being up-front and accountable. “After months of talking about ‘accountability’ on the campaign trail, it looks like Congressman Sestak is trading in his vaunted accountability for political hypocrisy,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik.  “Congressman Sestak talks about reform, but one earmark scandal after another has shown that he is just another Washington insider politician.  Congressman Sestak needs to come forward and tell the whole story about his wind turbine earmark for an atheist group.  Either Congressman Sestak isn’t telling Pennsylvanians the whole truth about his latest earmark violation or his office is guilty of gross incompetence – either one is an affront to Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

August 31st, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments