Friday, July 9, 2010

Rendell's Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars To Solidify Political Base

The Pennsylvania Independent published a story about Ed Rendell distributing a disproportionate amount of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding to the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County received $109.5 million in RACP funds for 12 projects, a little more than a third of the total funding doled out in the bill signed yesterday by Mr. Rendell, including $10 million for the Sen. Arlen Specter Library at Philadelphia University. Mr. Specter, who served as Philadelphia District Attorney from 1965 until 1974, was Mr. Rendell’s first employer.

“I think that’s been this governor’s mode of operation,” said state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R – Butler). “Dole out the goodies from Harrisburg that he can grab a hold of for his base, for the Philadelphia area especially.”

The Legal Intelligencer penned this story about the Feds appeal of the light sentence imposed on former Senator Vince Fumo after his conviction in what amounts to one of the worst corruption cases in Pennsylvania.

Weighing in at 281 pages and more than 53,000 words, the appellate brief filed by the Justice Department on Thursday to challenge the leniency of the 55-month sentence imposed on former state Sen. Vincent Fumo is like a Harry Potter novel for the judiciary -- highly anticipated, loaded with entertaining vocabulary, and chock full of talk about darkness and wicked ways.

What are the similarities between these two stories? Here is more information from the appeal by the Feds in the Fumo Case.

"The corruption exposed in this case was breathtaking," they wrote.

Fumo was a 30-year member of the Pennsylvania Senate, they wrote, who "used his control of a well-funded Senate committee and of a nonprofit organization he created and supported (Citizens Alliance), as well as his influence over another nonprofit institution, to support a lavish lifestyle and illegally amass political power."

The brief says Fumo used funds and resources of the Senate and of the nonprofit organizations "to provide him with staffers who served his every whim, from running political campaigns, to aiding his personal business ventures, to attending to his needs at the five homes he maintained."

Fumo used the funds of Citizens Alliance "for political purposes, and to acquire over $1 million of luxury vehicles, merchandise, farm equipment, and myriad other items," the brief says, noting that Buckwalter calculated more than $2 million in losses from Fumo's crimes when "in actuality, the loss was at least double that."

And "just as strikingly," the prosecutors wrote, "once the federal investigation began, Fumo embarked on a determined effort to obstruct justice, directing his public employees to destroy extensive computer evidence of his crimes."

In a previous post I highlighted the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp, the tax-exempt, taxpayer-supported nonprofit group founded by State Rep. Dwight Evans, chairman of the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee and the waste of $1 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer's money on a jazz festival.

From Eachus's office Brett Marcy this comment back on May 09, 2010.

"We have worked hard to trim costs and find ways to improve efficiencies," said Brett Marcy, press secretary to House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne.

Over at the Capitol Wire With John Micek he quotes House Majority Leader Todd Eachus about the budget:

"This is a responsible budget, and it's a win for Pennsylvania taxpayers. It holds the line on state taxes and it keeps our commitment to invest appropriately in our children's education and protect our local property tax payers from having to shoulder more of the burden for funding our schools."

How he can make that claim with the obvious waste of taxpayer money is beyond me.

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