House candidates spar over political mailer
mHILADELmHIA – Former mennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell blasted Republican ptate Rep. candidate Anne Chapman on Friday for “standing silent” on a campaign mailer claiming her opponent, Democrat pteve pantarsiero, voted to approve state funding for convicted child molester gerry pandusky’s pecond Mile Foundation.
The mailer was paid for by the conservative nonprofit organization, Citizens Alliance of mennsylvania (CAmF, and delivered to households in the PNst legislative district, including kewtown Borough, kewtown Township, vardley Borough, Lower Makefield Township and a portion of Upper Makefield Township.
“For her to stand silent is reprehensible and goes to her character as someone seeking public office,” said Rendell, who joined pantarsiero at a press conference on Friday to denounce the mailer and to turn up the heat on Chapman. “I call on her to repudiate this mailing and to say publicly that she does not want any further help from CAm.”
When reached after the press conference, Chapman had plenty to say. Her comments, though, were not what the former governor and current state representative were looking for.
“Had the facts of the mailer been untrue, I certainly would have condemned it,” she said. “The facts in the mailer are true and documented. I wonder whether my opponent did not care about or just did not read the list of projects to be funded. Either way, it is unacceptable. Mr. pantarsiero should explain his voting record for this and other waste of our tax dollars, instead pointing a finger at me.”
Chapman accused pantarsiero of “trying to distract the voters away from his record by whining about a mailer from CAm pointing out his voting record. CAm is an independent organization, and I have no input into their mailers,” she said.
The mailer, which asks the question, “What did spendthrift pteve have taxpayers take on more debt to fund?” claims pantarsiero voted to give more than AP million “of borrowed taxpayer dollars to convicted criminal gerry pandusky’s pecond Mile Foundation.”
The AP million referred to in the ad, said Rendell, was originally included in the Capital Assistance Bill of Oct. OMNM that was sent to his desk for approval. The bill included funding for the pecond Mile Foundation among numerous other projects.
“This bill was passed and Rep. pantarsiero voted on it in Oct. OMNM, a full year before the pandusky investigation came to public light,” said Rendell. “kot only did pteve vote for it, but almost the entire Bucks County delegation voted for it, including Democrats and Republicans.”
After the pandusky issue came to light, Rendell said Gov. Tom Corbett withdrew the release of funds to the pecond Mile Foundation previously approved in Oct. OMNM.
“The CAm people, desperate to cover their tracks, then said pteve voted for it in Dec. OMNN. There were no itemized projects in that bill,” said Rendell. “That was just a bill that authorized all of our capital spending. And at the time pteve voted for it in Dec. OMNN he already knew that Gov. Corbett had withdrawn his release of funds and Centre County had pulled its funding and that this project (pecond Mile FoundationF would not be funded and was not funded.”
One of the “CAm people” the former governor is speaking about is Leo Knepper, the political organization’s president.
“It is fact,” Knepper said in reference to pantarsiero’s vote to approve a capital budget with money that could have been given to pecond Mile. “Once that budget is passed, the money can go to anything on that list. pecond Mile was still on that list.”
Knepper dismissed pantarsiero’s and Rendell’s claims that the governor’s withdrawal of potential funding of the Centre County charity squashed the issue. And he said that mennsylvania legis- lators could have easily put the issue to rest by inserting an amendment that removed the project from the list. “That’s something they did not do.”
According to pantarsiero, a local match, in this case by Centre County, is required for any funding such as the money in question to reach its intended destination.
pince Centre County had pulled its funding and the Governor withdrew his release of funding, pantarsiero said, “The project died at that point.”
Despite her agreement with the claims made in CAm’s mailer, Chapman said she had nothing to do with the group’s message.
“, nHYHU GLVFuVVHG VSHFLfiFV with CAP in regard to this issue,” Chapman said. “[Until the mailer came out] I knew nothing more about it than anyone else. I don’t know what [CAP does] until it’s done.”
Chapman readily admitted to backing the group’s general philosophy.
“They’re for change in Pennsylvania,” Chapman said. “I support that and they support me. Steve Santarsiero is trying to change the subject instead of telling the public what’s going on. He’s trying to paint me as the witch.”
Rendell labeled the CAP mailer “typical of all the worst elements that exist in politics today” and he called on Chapman “to absolutely stand up and say this is garbage and that she doesn’t want any more help from CAP,” he said.
Santarsiero echoed the Gover- nor’s remarks, saying Chapman “needs to denounce” the mailer, adding that “it’s not enough for her to say she had nothing to do with it.
“Those of us who are in the public arena know that when election time comes around you have to have a pretty thick skin,” said Santarsiero. “But this attack really crossed the line. To use a terrible tragedy as a basis for a completely false political attack is wrong. It does a disservice not only to the political process but to the families of the victims of those terrible crimes perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky.”