Corrupt PA Democrats Cheated Nader, Greens, Citizens, but will anyone get anything back?

Indictments are finally delivered on the Democratic Party corruption scandal in Pennsylvania

PA Attorney General Tom Corbett handed down indictments on July 10 charging that from at least 2004 until 2006, then-PA House Majority Whip Mike Veon paid more than a dozen government staffers to do Democratic Party political work. Specifically, Corbett will seek to show a conspiracy to steal from the public by awarding productivity bonuses to state workers in return for partisan political tasks undertaken on the public dime. The alleged corruption included state payment of campaign staff, the development of email databases, petition challenges, and the usual more or less personal aggrandizement (a mistress, a motorcycle trip to South Dakota).

Although the scheme was carried out over a number of years, the Democrat’s abuse of public funds was widely suspected. As the PA attorney’s press statement says:

Two outstanding examples of misappropriation of taxpayers’ resources on petition challenges were the Ralph Nader for President of the United States in 2004 and the Carl Romanelli for the United States Senate in 2006.

The grand jury found that as many as 50 Democratic House Caucus staff members participated in the Nader petition challenge and contributed a staggering number of man-hours. A House Democratic employee testified before the grand jury that “everybody was working on this.” It was virtually a caucus wide endeavor and many of the employees spent an entire week on the Nader petition challenge.

Upon the successful challenge to the Nader petition, Veon sent an e-mail to his staff stating:

“FYI .great job by our staff! This would have never been successful without your work. You have given John Kerry an even better opportunity to win this state.one of the 5 most important states to win this year.”

“This is a very significant fact and significant contribution by each one of you to the Kerry for president campaign.you should take great pride in your efforts.”

The Romanelli petition challenge was led by Cott, who announced it was very important to “leadership” that Romanelli not appear on the ballot. Staffers were told “not to worry about leave,” but to focus on getting the petition challenges done as soon as possible.

The Democratic Party’s efforts against Nader and the Greens in 2004 are well known. Nader was kept off the ballot in California as well, but the situation was particularly bad in Pennsylvania. According to Ballot Access News (B.A.N.), Romanelli submitted 95,000 signatures to meet a requirement of 67,070, but only 58,000 of those signatures were considered valid. Nader submitted 50,000 signatures in 2004, to meet a requirement of 25,697. The state court determined he didn’t have enough valid signatures.

Over 30,000 signatures were challenged by the work of paid state employees working on the public dime and Nader and Romanelli were kept off the ballot by the PA Commonwealth Court.

Punitively, the PA Supreme Court assigned the cost of the petition challenge to Nader and Romanelli! Nader was required to pay more than $80,000 and Romanelli nearly $50,000 to reimburse the petition challenges, which Democratic officeholders had financed with tax money. As B.A.N. reported upon the denial of his appeal “Romanelli is being billed $48,285 in fees for Democratic Party attorneys, $25,481 in court costs, $5,141 in copying and stenography fees and $1,500 for handwriting experts.”

In February 2008, the Democratic Party in PA filed an injunction in a Washington, DC court freezing Nader’s personal assets. Nader was required to pay $61,000 “owed” to the firm of Reed Smith for the 2004 petition challenge that got him thrown off the ballot. At the time PA state Democratic officials were explicit in their wish that Nader be kept off the ballot again in 2008.

“The bottom line is he fraudulently tried to obtain access to the Pennsylvania ballot,” said Democratic Party chairman T.J. Rooney. “He should satisfy his outstanding obligations before trying to do it again.”

The quote neatly implies that any attempt to get on the ballot would be fraudulent.

It is unclear yet whether Nader and the Greens will be on the ballot this year, but the signature requirements are a little less than they were before. This is only because voter participation has declined, and the signature requirement is a percentage of the last election. Declining choices brings declining participation. What would restitution look like under these circumstances? Once the election is past, the opportunity is lost. Even if the accused are found guilty on all counts, go to prison, and pay enormous fines, it is too late to undo the effected elections.

Larry Otter, Mr. Romanelli’s lawyer in the petition challenges, today said he was “sick” at the extent of state labor involved.

“God knows what was going on the behind the scenes to get Romanelli off the ballot. It’s beyond outrageous. It’s a subversion of Democracy. It makes Pennsylvania’s ballot access a joke,” Mr. Otter said.

NAME RECOMMENDED CHARGES MAX SENTENCE

Michael R. Veon
Former House Democratic Whip

Mike Veon

Mike Veon

Conflict of interest, 11 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 11 counts.
Theft of services, 11 counts.
Theft by deception, 11 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 11 counts.
Conspiracy. .
381 years and $805,000 fine

Michael Lee Manzo
Former chief of staff to Mike Veon

Michael Manzo

Michael Manzo

Conflict of interest, 9 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 9 counts.
Theft by deception, 9 counts.
Theft of services, 9 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 9 counts.
Conspiracy.
311 years and $660,000 fine

Brett W. Cott
Policy Analyst

Brett Cott

Brett Cott

Conflict of interest, 7 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 9 counts.
Theft by deception, 7 counts.
Theft of services, 8 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 8 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
272 years and $575,000 fine

Jeff Foreman
Aide to Whip Keith McCall

Jeff Forman

Jeff Forman

Conflict of interest, 4 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 4 counts.
Theft by deception, 4 counts.
Theft of services, 4 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 4 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
160 years and $240,000 fine

Scott Vincent Brubaker
Former director of staffing and administration

Scott Brubaker

Scott Brubaker

Conflict of interest, 4 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 4 counts.
Theft by deception, 4 counts.
Theft of services, 4 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 4 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
144 years and $310,000 fine

Anna Marie Perretta-Rosepink
District office manager

Anna Marie Perretta-Rosepink

Anna Marie Perretta-Rosepink

Conflict of interest, 4 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 4 counts.
Theft by deception, 4 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 4 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
132 years and $280,000 fine

Jennifer K. Brubaker
Director of Research Office

Jennifer K. Brubaker

Jennifer K. Brubaker

Conflict of interest, 3 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 3 counts.
Theft by deception, 3 counts.
Theft of services, 3 counts.
Theft by failure to make require disposition of funds, 3 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
113 years and $240,000 fine

Stephen A.H. Keefer
Former director of information technology

Stephen Keefer

Stephen Keefer

Conflict of interest, 3 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 3 counts.
Theft by deception, 3 counts.
Theft of services, 3 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 3 counts.
Conspiracy.
113 years and $240,000 fine

Earl James Mosley
Former personnel administrator

Earl Mosley

Earl Mosley

Conflict of interest, 3 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 3 counts.
Theft by deception, 3 counts.
Theft of services, 3 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 3 counts.
Conspiracy.
106 years and $225,000 fine

Rachel L. Manzo
Aide to Rep. Todd Eachus

Rachel Manzo

Rachel Manzo

Conflict of interest, 2 counts.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, 2 counts.
Theft by deception, 2 counts.
Theft of services, 2 counts.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 2 counts.
Conspiracy, 2 counts.
80 years and $170,000 fine

State Rep. Sean M. Ramaley
D-Conway

Sean Ramaley

Sean Ramaley

Conflict of interest.
Theft my unlawful taking or disposition.
Theft by deception.
Theft of services.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.
Conspiracy.
40 years and $85,000 fine

Patrick J. Lavelle
Former legislative aide

Patrick Lavelle

Patrick Lavelle

Conflict of interest.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.
Theft by deception.
Theft of services.
Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.
Conspiracy.
40 years and $85,000 fine

Charges source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08192/896220-454.stm
Mugshots source: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=3771

Other links:

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition : works introduce competitive elections to Pennsylvania

See the 2004 Commonwealth Court decision against Nader here.

Nader has filed a compliant with the Federal Election Commission against the Democratic National Committee for its role in the 2004 ballot exclusions. A copy of Nader’s complaint can be found here.

In May 2008 the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters sued former Supreme Court Judge Ralph J. Cappy, alleging that the judge granted “a favorable court ruling for slots gambling in return for a judicial pay raise“. There are allegations of systemic corruption involving meetings between judges and state elected officials. According to the just referenced article in the Wilkes Barre Citizen’s voice: “Chief Justice Ronald Castille called the suit slanderous and said the league could face sanctions and its attorney, Paul Rossi, disciplinary action under federal court rules for making baseless charges about the Supreme Court.”

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Posted on July 10, 2008, in News, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Wow. This is amazing but unfortunately not surprising. If nothing else, Nader should get reimbursed for having to pay $80,000 for PA’s democrat corruption. What will be amazing is if any of these corrupt assholes do any time. They should be forced to go out and collect signatures for Nader this time around — maybe even get I love Nader tattooed on their arse!

    VoteNader.org

  2. Thank for the feed and link. Very much appreciated, as is this reporting.

    This is just a part of the problem, although a huge part of course. Not only do Republicans and Democrats use tricks to hide their money and steal elections, but they are even willing to subvert our democratic process, in case we made a “mistake” like happened in Palestine or Bolivia, and elect the “wrong sort” here too.

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