The Arrogance of power

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them  ~Patrick Henry, American colonial revolutionary

 

The Executive Committee of the Lebanon County Republican Committee met this week and voted 26-1 to seek to have the winner of the Republican Primary remove himself from the November elections. The decision was made without consulting the duly elected committee representatives of the 102nd district. A meeting with the elected committee members is scheduled for August 20th but this is little more than a formality since the letter has already been sent out to Mr. Diamond.  Such a decision should reside in the general and greater Committee, not in the hands of an appointed Executive Committee

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Prior to this, members of this executive committee and other members of the committee carried and/or signed petitions for an independent candidate in the district in violation of the committee by-laws. (Bylaws Article 1, section 5)  In a previous election that involved Liz Judd, committee members were chastised for their support of Liz Judd who had won the Democrat nomination and that chastisement came at the insistence of many of the same who are now attempting to subvert this election process.

The executive committee states that Mr. Diamond is neither a “viable or appropriate” candidate without stating the reasons for this statement. I say that the voters need to make that decision. If they have information regarding Mr. Diamond that disqualifies him as a candidate then that information, now that the primary has been held, needs to be made public. As our elected representative we deserve that. If they had this information before the primary, why didn’t they come forward with this information and make it public knowledge? Why is that, only after subverting the by-laws of the committee, do they wish to make some vague reference to Mr. Diamonds qualifications.  

26 executive members of the committee voted for an attempt to void a primary election.   They did so behind closed doors in a private meeting without making the reasons for that decision a matter of public record. If the by-laws of the Lebanon County Republican Committee allow for this before going to the duly elected representatives of that voting district then those by-laws need to be changed NOW. If they do not, then those 26 members of the executive committee should be the ones turning in their resignations.

This is really about your voice through open and free elections.   ABC 27 news recently broadcast a story that alleges nepotism through the Long/Nyquist lobbying firm in relation to the controls on our Harrisburg Legislators.   It appears to me that this is also true at the local level as Mike Long stands behind a shadow body which is doing his bidding spear=headed by Mr. Long’s son, Casey who now serves as the chair of the Lebanon County Republican Committee.  I have been told that this Committee, which is largely hand picked by Casey Long, was selected for the allegiance to Mike Long.  One previous executive committee member stated that she had requested a position on the newly formed committee and received a reply from Casey Long stating that he was insulted at the request since the committee member making the request did not support him.   Apparently we are back to the days of “only yes men need apply.”

Senator Eichelberger had introduced legislation earlier this year that would not allow lobbyists to serve as political campaign consultants. Senator Folmer is a co-sponsor but there are just a few other co-sponsors which indicates the lack of will on the part of legislators to stand up to the powers that control politics behind the scenes.   Senator Wagner recognized this problem making it a central part of the ABC27 news story and Senator Wagner followed this up with a press statement which reads as follows:

Good Morning –

I was elected to go to Harrisburg to represent the constituents of the 28th PA State Senate District of York County.

Part of my job is to be a problem solver; to identify problems and then come up with solutions.

I was sworn in to serve in the PA State Senate on April 2nd.

In the four short months that I have been in Harrisburg, it has become crystal clear to me that 2,000 plus registered lobbyists and special interest groups have created the largest log-jam that Pennsylvania has ever seen.

The lobbying – special interest problem that I have observed in Harrisburg was addressed in a story that ABC27 did last night on a lobbying firm in Harrisburg.

The lobbying firm, Long & Nyquist, represents several Republicans in the Senate and House, including some who are in leadership positions.

Long & Nyquist also represent unions as clients.

Long & Nyquist represents the Pennsylvania state liquor store workers union (local 1776 – UFCW), the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) the union that represents teachers, and the PSBA (Pennsylvania School Board Association).

It is my opinion and the opinion of many of my Senate colleagues that a huge “conflict of interest” exists with Long & Nyquist representing special interest groups and running re-election campaigns for sitting Senators and House members.

It is a problem that needs to be addressed and it needs to stop.

A common theme that I mention in almost all of my emails is that I am constantly asked: “Why can’t we get reforms passed in Harrisburg when we have a Republican governor, and a Republican majority in the House and Senate.” The ABC27 news story hits the nail directly on the head as the number one reason why nothing has gotten accomplished in Harrisburg over the last three and a half years.

What is the solution?

The solution is for the Senate to pass SB 752, which prohibits registered lobbyists from managing political campaigns. SB 752 has my vote.

Here is a link to the article and the full story can be found below.

Thank you,

Scott Wagner

End of Scott Wagner memo:

I support SB 752 but it needs to go further. I believe that this needs to include the interference with local committee seats in our party Committees. Lobbyists should not be allowed to seek election to the local committee. The local committee is where it all starts through endorsements and attempts to control the election process.   I fail to see how any of the actions of this current committee is anything but an attempt to control the process.

This has nothing to do with whether or not you support the current Republican candidate and everything to do with the exertion of an abusive and dictatorial control over the election process. To do so behind closed doors only makes it even more heinous.   We don’t elect committee people to tell us how to vote, we elect them to tell them how we want them to vote. Somewhere that point has been overlooked.   When candidates can win an election without holding a single public event to make the case for the people but win those elections through glossy card stock mailers sent out by PACs fronted by lobbyists, open and free elections are entirely a thing of the past.  

Neither Primary victor for the GOP in the 101st or the 102nd held any public events that allowed for questions from the voters in meeting with the public they claimed to want to represent.

As the ABC27 story questioned the four years of a GOP administration that failed to advance any key legislation to the conservative base including Property Tax Independence, Pension reform,  Paycheck Protection and as the sponsorship of SB 752 indicate, necessary reform is not likely to come to Pennsylvania.  Its bad enough that we have legislators who fear a lobbyist but when that lobbyist is involved in the undermining of local elections in attempts to control this process is it any wonder why so many people feel that their governments at every level, local, state and federal, have become so corrupt that the protection of the people in their liberties and rights is a thing of the past.

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One thought on “The Arrogance of power

  1. In an article today in Pennlive (http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/08/lebanon_county_gop_to_perennia.html)

    Casey Long says:
    “Mr. Diamond has a history of running for pretty much every office you can imagine and losing every race,” Long said. “Governor, lieutenant governor, Congress, state rep multiple times. This past primary, when he ran for Republican County Committee in Annville Township, he finished last out of six candidates. And those (voters) are his neighbors, the people who know him best.”

    This fails to explain why they chose not to back Wanda Bechtold as a write-in after Diamond had her removed from the ballot. It also fails to explain why they violated their own by-laws in circulating a petition for an independent candidate before this action was taken.

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