President Obama has taken an uncommon step and weighed in on PA’s Attorney General Democratic primary.
The President is endorsing Josh Shapiro’s campaign.
“Josh Shapiro is a true progressive with a strong record of standing up for Pennsylvania families,” said President Obama. “As Attorney General he’ll fight to reform the criminal justice system to make it fairer for all and protect seniors and consumers. Josh Shapiro is a person with character and integrity and represents a new generation of progressive leadership. I’m proud to endorse Josh Shapiro for Attorney General.”
“Ever since we met in Pennsylvania a decade ago, I’ve admired Barack Obama and his thoughtful, courageous determination to bring about real change and advance the cause of justice,” Shapiro responded. “I am deeply honored to have earned a rare endorsement from the President. As Attorney General, I will carry on the fight to give a voice to the voiceless in Pennsylvania, bring about fairness in our justice system and continue to take on the status quo, just as President Obama has done throughout his career.”
Shapiro is a long-time Obama supporter, who campaigned for him in the 2008 primary battle against Hillary Clinton.
In an intriguing twist, Kathleen Kane’s 2012 victory over Patrick Murphy was partly the result of the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton. That support came because Kane campaigned for Clinton while Murphy backed Obama in 2008.
Shapiro is running against Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala and Northampton DA John Morganelli in the April 26th Democratic primary.
To BobG – If he were so transparent, perhaps he should release hi tax returns (and time sheets) from those years dating back to the time he was a state rep. That should be an interesting read.
31 March 2016 John Morganelli :” Today, I intend to file a request with the state Ethics Commission to investigate and determine whether Josh Shapiro violated the aforesaid law when he failed to disclose this interest and/or should have abstained from these votes involving his clients- PECO and Exelon. While they are at it, they should also look into the other votes made awarding lucrative contracts to campaign donors.”
DA John Morganelli To Seek Ethics Act Investigation Into Josh Shapiro’s Votes on Two County Contracts / Says Shapiro Failed to Disclose He was Awarding Montgomery County Contracts to His Law Firm’s Clients (emphasis added)
PECO Energy and Exelon Corporation were awarded a total of $2.5 million in Montgomery County contracts with Josh Shapiro’s vote in 2014 and 2015. What was not known, and not disclosed in the minutes of the Board of Commissioners meeting, was at the time Josh ran these contracts through, not only was he taking campaign cash from them, but he was also voting for business for his law firm’s clients– his clients. Stradley Ronon, Shapiro’s law firm, is the registered lobbyist for PECO and represents Exelon.
Because Josh Shapiro is compensated by Stradley Ronon, and because both PECO Energy and Exelon are paying customers to his law firm, Shapiro had a pecuniary interest in awarding the county contract to his own clients. In my opinion, this may have constituted a conflict of interest as defined under the Pennsylvania Ethics Act, and a violation of the Act.
Let me review the facts. On March 21st, I went to Montgomery County Courthouse to ask Josh Shapiro to come clean and disclose all county vendors that he has solicited for campaign contributions, and then voted on matters that awarded those same folks million dollar county contracts . I also asked the Montgomery County Controller to do an audit that would disclose all Montgomery County vendors who either right before, or right after they were awarded a lucrative county contract by Josh Shapiro, dropped large amounts of cash into Shapiro’s campaign coffers.
I cited 7 specific contracts that Shapiro voted on, and either right before or right after the vote, these vendors dumped money into Josh’s campaign coffers. They were as follows:
* February 20, 2015 – $2500 contribution to Shapiro
* March 6, 2015- Shapiro votes for a $400,000 contract award to McCormick Taylor for engineering services
And another $1,000 from a principal of McCormick on March 7,2016
Matt McTish ( McTish, Kunkel Associates)
* June 18,2014- Shapiro makes the motion and votes for $1 million dollar contract for construction inspection services
* February 23, 2015- Shapiro accepts $5,000 from Matt McTish
Exelon Corporation- energy company in Chicago/subsidiary is Constellation Co.
* June 19, 2014- $2.4 million dollar contract awarded
* February 19, 2015- Shapiro accepts $5,000 contribution from Exelon
And more recently, Exelon PAC contributed another $2500 to Shapiro on March 7, 2016.
PECO Energy Co
* October 15, 2015- PECO awarded a $73,896 contract
* October 19,2015- Shapiro accepts $1,000 contribution/ he had previously received a $500 contribution on 1/19/15
Gannet Fleming- engineering services
* February 18,2015- Shapiro accepts a $1,000 contribution
* October 15,2015- Gannet awarded a $285,400 contract
* January 15,2015- Aetna awarded a $2 million dollar contract for dental services
* March 20, 2015- Shapiro accepts $2500 fro Aetna PAC
Between 2012 and 2015 Shapiro accepted $30,000 in campaign contributions from the head of Allan Myers Construction Co. Myers was awarded an $11.5 million contract for highway work in Montgomery County- a contract Shapiro voted to increase by $3.4 million in August of 2014.
Unfortunately, my simple request was met with stonewalling. Josh Shapiro is stonewalling and the County Controller is silent.
But since that time, even more troubling information has now been developed that must now be met with even more scrutiny. The information about his law firm’s clients establishes that Josh is not what he wants us all to believe when it comes to good government. The truth is that he has used his position as a County Commissioner to not only reward his campaign contributors with lucrative county contracts, but he has also, in at least 2 county contracts, failed to disclose that he is using his position to steer lucrative county contracts to his own clients- vendors who are clients of his law firm- Stradley Ronon.
In 2009 Josh flipped his vote on a measure that would have kept legislators from getting paid by any firm that lobbies the legislature. It passed 198-0 in Democratic controlled House. 10 minutes later , Democrats had second thoughts and reversed it 100-98. Josh flipped because it would have cost him his counsel job at Stradley Ronon which lobbies the legislature. Post Gazette 2/6/09.
Roll vote no 33 2/4/09
Roll vote no 38 same day.
Let me read the law itself:
65 Pa.C.S.A. § 1103
(a) Conflict of interest.–No public official or public employee shall engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest.
(b) Seeking improper influence.–No person shall offer or give to a public official,…anything of monetary value, including …a political contribution, …based upon the offeror’s or donor’s understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official… would be influenced thereby.
(c) Accepting improper influence.–No public official…., shall solicit or accept anything of monetary value, including a … political contribution,…. based on any understanding of that public official,… that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official …would be influenced thereby.
(j) Voting conflict.–Where voting conflicts are not otherwise addressed by the Constitution of Pennsylvania or by any law, rule, regulation, order or ordinance, the following procedure shall be employed. Any public official or public employee who in the discharge of his official duties would be required to vote on a matter that would result in a conflict of interest shall abstain from voting and, prior to the vote being taken, publicly announce and disclose the nature of his interest as a public record in a written memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting at which the vote is taken, provided that whenever a governing body would be unable to take any action on a matter before it because the number of members of the body required to abstain from voting under the provisions of this section makes the majority or other legally required vote of approval unattainable, then such members shall be permitted to vote if disclosures are made as otherwise provided herein. In the case of a three-member governing body of a political subdivision, where one member has abstained from voting as a result of a conflict of interest and the remaining two members of the governing body have cast opposing votes, the member who has abstained shall be permitted to vote to break the tie vote if disclosure is made as otherwise provided herein.
Today, I intend to file a request with the state Ethics Commission to investigate and determine whether Josh Shapiro violated the aforesaid law when he failed to disclose this interest and/or should have abstained from these votes involving his clients- PECO and Exelon. While they are at it, they should also look into the other votes made awarding lucrative contracts to campaign donors.
I was hoping that Josh himself would address these issues. But while he loves to give lofty speeches about transparency, gift bans, and good government, he fails to practice what he preaches in Montgomery County. The fact is that Josh Shapiro cannot run from this issue. I won’t let him hide behind spokespersons. And that is because, in this campaign to date, and in the forums we have participated in, Josh Shapiro likes to lecture everyone about ethics and integrity. He brags about his so-called “integrity agenda” for Pennsylvania. He says that he will adopt a gift ban that will forbid an official from accepting even a free cup of coffee so as not to be influenced with respect to his public duties. He says he will lead by example. Yet, his rhetoric does not match his conduct. He runs around with ethics and integrity on his sleeve, but where is that when it comes to his own conduct? Shapiro wants to ban state officials from accepting a free cup of coffee, but at the same time, in Montgomery County, Josh Shapiro has no problem at all soliciting campaign contributions from special interests who he then awards lucrative county contracts, including the clients of his own law firm.
Josh Shapiro needs to answer to this. He needs to stand here in front of the statewide media, and the people of Pennsylvania and address these issues. Not through some spokesperson who issue standard statements, but personally.
It looks like President Obama’s recent endorsement of Josh Shapiro has taken a backseat to the many endorsements coming in, literally, one after the other for DA Stephen Zappala.
From Chicago, Al Capone, Ralph Capone, Frank Capone, John Dillinger, Sam Giancana.
From Miami, Santo Trafficante Sr. and Santo Trafficante Jr.
From Philly, Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo
From the Big Apple, Albert :Murder Inc.” Anastasia, Joseph Bonnano, Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, Joseph Columbo, Frank Costello, Joe “Crazy Joey” Gallo, Henry Hill, Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, Vito Genevese.
From PA, Russell Buffalino, Johnny Larocca and of course Chuckie Porter.
I am a Democrat- Actually Katie released her endorsement first and even the Post Gazette Article says as they were posting about Katie they received an announcement from Josh Shapiro
Current POTUS endorsing future AG.
One underqualifed punk endorsing another
Too bad Josh isn’t running for the US Senate, a position he is more qualified for.
Good Choice President Obama is to support him as Attorney General and I’m hoping for Vice President Joe Biden do the same if he wants to.
Senator – You may not care. But many Philadelphia voters do. And many intelligent voters across the State will care too.
Senator: it’s because black lives matter…almost as much as black police dogs
So cool that our President of the United States recognizes and endorses Josh Shapiro for our next Pennslyvania Attorney General. Congratulations Josh. Men and Women across our state recognize Josh Shapiro is the best choice to serve in the position of Attorney General. We need a strong person to finish the job of cleaning up the corruption in that office.
My guy has never tried a case in his whole career as DA in Allegheny County. I hope no one catches that.
I love Josh’s ads where he says he will fight for us. Would you ever ask someone to fight for you if he has never been in a fight? Lol. Too funny. But the Obama endorsement is impressive. Josh is certainly a well connected politician.
Why is Obama endorsing candidates for Pennsylvania row offices? Why do we care? Is he planning on moving here in January???
Looks like nothing’s changed. Here’s an oldie but a goodie. The message is still the same!! The you tube video is priceless.
Obama doing what he can to fix PA.
I’m sure this will be very influential in the western part of the state. They just love pro-abortion liberal democrats from Philadelphia. Obamas endorsement also helps Sonny. Sonny wins and everyone can get in line to kiss the ring, then Sonny can tell them to get lost.
Thanks. I feel bitter already.
There … I fixed that for you …
As President, Bill Clinton appointed Zappala mob fixer Fred Thieman as Picksburg’s United States Attorney. Perhaps Hillary can run back to the rescue now and endorse Sonny Corleone, unless she wants to carry Pennsylvania. It might also be, as well, that President Obama saw the sickening ‘Black Lives Matter’ commercial run by Junior and decided to make that point, since Black voters will decide the A.G. Winner on election day.
So imagine the conversation at the Shapiro campaign. “Thanks a lot Katie for stepping all over our big Obama endorsement (which we put out there first), with your own. Really classy.” Katie couldn’t wait a day or two.
However, it is an unexpected endorsement and good for Josh. But, none of this changes anything. Josh is still ridiculously unqualified to be Attorney General and Pennsylvanians won’t fall for this establishment shell game to blind the voters with endorsements. Zappala and Morganelli could be AG in their sleep – although Morganelli is too conservative, the guy could do the job effectively. Zappala is a stand up guy and has real integrity and should still win if anyone has any belief that that qualifications are important.
Poser — It REALLY IS a pretty impressive endorsement.
Ask the old people and their families who got kicked out of the Geriatric Center when Josh privatized it – ask THEM how good he is for families. Arrogant, ambitious and conniving little putz.
Well, I must say, I have heretofore been unmoved by the parade of Rendell hacks who have already endorsed Josh, but NOW I really know who I am voting for! This is the greatest endorsement ever and you should think so too! Josh MUST be the best!
I guess this proves that Obama can read Josh’s handwriting. 🙂
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