Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any candidate in the race for the 9th Congressional District. I am not affiliated with any organization which endorsed any candidate for any political office of any party in that district. I raise these concerns because I care about the future of this country and our Commonwealth.
Most of us rely on slick commercials and campaign mailers to determine how we vote in elections but we really need to dig deeper. We need to know and understand where those who seek our support in an election really stand. That doesn’t mean getting into the dirt of personal attacks in the process of character assassination but we should at least be aware of the important part these candidates have played in shaping political policy and ideology. We should be free to voice our concerns in the public forum about real issues that have an real impact or our lives.
Recently, the Dan Meuser campaign announced they have a proposal for the elimination of school property taxes. While, on the surface this sounds like good news for advocates of the proposal, I have to disagree. Dan Meuser is running for the 9th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. It’s a federal position, not a state position. The notion that a candidate who, if elected, would seek to violate the protection of state’s rights in establishing how they fund education in their state appalls me. It would be a direct violation of the 10th Amendment.
The Meuser campaign announced this as a proposal. That would mean a Federal bill since he’s not running for a state office. To then learn that some of our sponsors for the school property tax elimination plan are supporting this proposal only raises my concern about the political will to get this done at the state level. We’ve long held the concern about politicians who use this issue as a carrot on a stick in order to get elected or to hold on to their seats but haven’t fought for it once elected. Now Meuser is taking that Carrot to a whole new level.
The first official duty of every elected representative is to take an oath of office that includes pledging to uphold the Constitution. Congress has no enumerated powers to regulate how states fund education and for very good reason. It’s not a federal responsibility. The Meuser campaign is promising to violate the 10th Amendment to the Constitution and voter’s, because of their hatred for the tax, will base their vote on that promise without considering the consequences. The proposal is doomed to failure, but we need not worry about that because I strongly suspect that the proposal will go no further than a promise on the campaign trail. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned that he would make such a promise to exploit voter’s in a district where this issue is important.
The 9th Congressional District represents the loudest voice in the entire Commonwealth concerning advocates for School Property Tax Elimination. The bill originated in the Reading area and quickly spread to bring strong advocates on board from Lebanon, Bethel and Schuylkill. The two successful citizen advocacy rallies dubbed the “Fill-A-Bus-Tours” originated from Lebanon through the Lebanon 9-12 Project. PA Liberty Alliance hails from Bethel. They’ve been behind the very successful door to door campaigns taking the message of school property tax elimination across the state. The founder of the PTCC hails from the Berks area.
The history of the town halls all have involvement from the Founder of the PTCC, The President of PA Liberty Alliance, who hails from the Schuylkill area and the Chair of the Lebanon 9-12 Project from Lebanon County. This is one of the hottest issues in this district and for it to be exploited for political purposes is an insult to those who have worked so hard to get this bill where it is.
The Berks County Patriots initiated a Tri-County effort that brought together representatives from Berks Patriots, PA Liberty Alliance, Lehigh Valley Patriots and the Lebanon 9-12 Project for the purpose of interviewing candidates. The hard work of this effort in doing research on the candidates that went beyond just interviews has brought very valuable information to the forefront.
As part of the Tri-County research team, this had me start doing some homework on this candidate. It turns out that this is not the first time that Dan Meuser has misrepresented facts to the people of Pennsylvania.
Dan Meuser was appointed as Secretary of Revenue during the Corbett Administration. In spite of Tom Corbett’s promise to sing the bill if it came to his desk. Corbett refused to use his office as Governor to advocate for the legislation. Even when he was seeking re-election, he refused to take this issue on the campaign trail.
As far as Dan Meuser, as Secretary of revenue he made two commitments to the people of the Commonwealth that were betrayed resulting in a cost in the millions that had to be paid for with tax payer dollars.
As Secretary of Revenue, Meuser pushed for privatizing the state run lottery system. He pushed to sell the lottery to a global lottery consulting firm, Camelot Global Services, not based in the United States, but a Canadian owned company operating out of the United Kingdom. The final decisions rested with Kathleen Kane but both Democrats and republicans in Pennsylvania voiced concerns about the legality of doing what Meuser proposed.
The Attorney general’s office reviewed the deal struck with Camelot Global and declared it unconstitutional. They pointed out that the deal included expanding the system of gambling in the Commonwealth beyond what was permitted by statutory law. The contract went beyond that which was approved by lawmakers when gambling was legalized in the state. It was also pointed out that profits from gambling in the state would have gone into a foreign based company rather than going to provide directly for services to seniors in the state. (https://www.watchdog.org/pennsylvania/updated-pa-s-private-lottery-contract-unconstitutional-ag-says/article_0ca2e77d-48a7-580b-9023-a50b0d48b80b.html)
And yet, Meuser still pushed for this. In 2013 AG DePasquale finally called for the termination of the deal which was originally supposed to cost taxpayers $725,000 to implement but had run up costs to $4.6 million, more than 4 times to original proposal. (http://www.paauditor.gov/press-releases/auditor-general-depasquale-urges-end-to-spending-on-lottery-privatization-calls-for-legislature-or-governor-to-act-by-dec-31)
As Secretary of Revenue Meuser also proposed an upgrade to the computer system that would cost Pennsylvanians $130 million dollars. The company hired to do the upgrade was Accenture, a global technology consultant, who had previously been fired by the state of Maryland for a similar project due to wasteful spending and missed deadlines. Dan Meuser assured Pennsylvanians that the same would not happen to Pennsylvania. He was wrong.
In 2015 the state cut ties with Accenture because it never delivered on it’s promise to upgrade the system. After over $100 million was spent they only upgraded state’s business tax system. A new firm had to be hired at an additional cost to taxpayers of $57 million dollars. (http://levittownnow.com/2018/03/08/pa-department-of-records-spending-57m-in-second-try-to-update-computer-system/)
Now Dan Meuser wants to take that type of fiscal irresponsibility to Washington D.C.
As we began to dig deeper we discovered some other troubling aspects.
Dan Meuser tells us that he supports building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and yet Dan Meuser’s firm, Pride Mobility, was fined for hiring illegal aliens. Wayne County District Attorney noted that the fine was the largest fine ever levied on a Pennsylvania Manufacturing business consisting of 58 violations of immigration laws. The company was fined $41,000. According to Zimmer the first offense for hiring an illegal at the time was $2,000 per illegal alien. (https://www.timesleader.com/archive/272762/stories-records-on-fine-for-illegals-gone2c-meuser-says103673)
More digging revealed that Pride Mobility, Dan Meuser’s firm, “agreed to pay $80,000 to resolve its liability for violations of the kickback provision of the Civil Monetary Penalties Law.” according to the testimony of Dara Corrigan, Acting Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. That report, which discusses attempts to defraud the Medicare system, includes the following statement: “In Pennsylvania, an OIG investigation revealed that, through a marketing program, Pride Mobility Products Corporation, a manufacturer of power wheelchairs, scooters, and lift chairs, solicited and received monthly payments from supplies in return for referring sales leads to those suppliers.” The official testimony also states, “in addition to the payment under the settlement agreement, the company was also required to adopt and implement certain compliance measures.” (https://oig.hhs.gov/testimony/docs/2004/042804fin.pdf)
Then it was discovered that, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times (7/9/07) and The Citizen’s Voice (6/30/07), Dan Meuser’s firm was forced to settle in case involving Software Piracy. The case involved a $380,000 fine to settle a software piracy case with the Business Software Alliance (BSA). As BSA noted “Software piracy is against the law, costing millions of dollars in tax revenues and lost jobs. In 2005, the United States lost $6.9 billion as a result of software piracy”. The Citizens Voice reported that Meuser’s company was fined for “unauthorized use of Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Symantec software”.
All of this information is particularly troubling to me as a resident of Lebanon County since The Lebanon County Republican Committee rushed through an endorsement of Dan Meuser without allowing for input from any of the other candidates in this race. The Lebanon County Republican Committee is chaired by Casey Long, who is working for the Meuser campaign, but did not disclose this to the other committee members. To my understanding the only issue that was addressed concerning Meuser is that he doesn’t reside in the 9th Congressional District. Blaming last minute redistricting and downplaying the importance of actually residing in the district you are representing was the excuse.
That brings me to the final issue…Campaign Contributions.
Dan Meuser has been a financial supporter of Matt Cartwright, a Democrat that is sometimes referred to as being left of Obama. If Meuser ran in the district he lives, he would have to challenge Matt Cartwright, someone he’s financially supported in elections. Troubling contributions through his PAC go beyond just his support of Matt Cartwright.
While Dan Meuser claims to support Lou Barletta as a Senate Candidate, financial contributions from the Meuser run PAC have gone to his Democrat opponent, Bob Casey. Other questionable contributions include donations to Hillary Clinton, Charlie Rangel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Those contributions helped to give the Democrats control of Congress which, at the time, gave us Obamacare.
It would be good to have honest answers to each of these concerns but Dan Meuser has worked hard to evade directly answering these relative questions. When confronted about the hiring of illegals, Dan Meuser stated he can’t produce the records on the case because they no longer exist. He refers to only 3 illegals, but as District Attorney Zimmer pointed out, the fine indicates the problem was much greater than Meuser admits. That information comes from the Times Leader article cited above.
Records from the Software Piracy case have also mysteriously disappeared as well. If not for archived newspaper accounts, this information would not be known because they’ve disappeared from the record. That makes me incredibly uncomfortable and very reminiscent of the Hillary Clinton talent for making things disappear.
As Thomas Jefferson stated “Shake off all the fears & servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”