Adelson's donation came up last week and he claims he "accidentally" donated $1 million:Nathan Sooy, of Dillsburg, has complained of Sheldon Adelson's reported $987,844 donation to the Republican Governor's Association, which was entirely funneled to the RGA's political action committee in Pennsylvania, which was created to assist Corbett's re-election effort.
Adelson is listed as one of the principals of the Sands Bethlehem casino.
Sooy is a member of the board of Keystone Progress, and a press release from Keystone Progress quoted him saying: "The RGA and Adelson both say the donation was made mistakenly, but the intent is irrelevant. The Republican Governors Association Pennsylvania PAC received the money directly from Adelson. That is money that went directly and illegally to Corbett and the Pennsylvania Republican Party."
According to the news release, "The RGA Pennsylvania PAC claims it returned the donation, but questions remain as to what communication has occurred between Mr. Adelson and Governor Corbett's re-election campaign. There is also some doubt about when the RGA returned the money to Adelson."
Sooy maintains the donation "should carry with it a fine of over $1.3 million" under the state's gaming law. - The Patriot-News, 6/20/14
And here's why this is bad for Corbett:The Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) PAC received the $987,844 contribution from Adelson on December 31, according to Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Ron Reese, the vice president of corporate communications for Las Vegas Sands, said the money was accompanied by a notification that the money could not be allocated to the campaigns of PA politicians because the state’s gaming law prohibits contributions to politicians running for state office from casino owners.
Regardless, the money was moved into the “RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC,” according to a state campaign-finance report filed not long after. Reese, therefore, attributes the mistake to the RGA, not to Adelson himself or to the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
RGA spokesman Jon Thompson claimed that the funds have been returned by the PA PAC, and described the attention around the episode as an attempt by Democrats to distract from the real issues of the campaign. “It’s clear Democrats are desperate to talk about anything other than Tom Wolf’s failed record,” he said.
The RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC was Corbett’s biggest contributor when he ran for governor in 2010, and has been his largest supporter thus far in his re-election. He received $1.6 million from the PAC in April, but Thompson assured critics that none of that money came from Adelson. - Politics PA, 6/11/14
This isn't the only bad news Corbett has been getting:Pennsylvania's gaming law prohibits casino owners in the state from making contributions to candidates for state office or political-action committees in Pennsylvania.
Adelson, a Republican mega-donor known for his keen interest in foreign affairs - especially as they relate to Israel - owns 7 percent of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem. His wife, Miriam, owns 16 percent. Another 18.6 percent is controlled by two trusts in the name of Sheldon Adelson.
Asked why the RGA put Adelson's money into the group's Pennsylvania PAC, Thompson said it was just one of "hundreds of donations that we put into many of our state PACs."
The RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC has given Corbett's campaign $1.8 million, including $210,000 in December and $1.6 million in April.
Thompson said Adelson's money was not included in the contributions to Corbett.
The RGA was Corbett's biggest single donor when he ran for governor in 2010 and holds that status in his re-election bid so far.
Christie hosted a private RGA fundraiser in Philadelphia for Corbett's campaign Monday and another private fundraiser in Pittsburgh on Friday. Both events drew crowds of protesters. - Philadelphia Daily News, 6/11/14
And here's another problem:Gov. Corbett said Tuesday that he was willing to let the state's June 30 budget deadline pass if legislators don't act on his priority initiatives.
After calling reporters to a news conference, Corbett said he won't approve any plans to use taxes to close a $1.4 billion budget gap without first reining in the skyrocketing cost of public employee pensions, and privatizing the sale of wine and spirits.
"We need to get this done right rather than quickly," he said. "I am willing to be here. . . . No bluster. No threats. These are the facts."
It was a notable departure from Corbett's insistence over the last three years to get budgets passed on time, unlike his Democratic predecessor, Ed Rendell. And though the state does not mandate a budget by July 1, any protracted delay in passing a spending plan could affect state services or halt paychecks to public employees.
It also demonstrated how high the stakes are for Corbett this year - an election year - to push through his agenda. The governor faces anemic public-approval ratings, not to mention a well-funded Democratic opponent in Tom Wolf. Leaving Harrisburg this summer with policy wins could help his reelection campaign.
Still, several people close to the Republican governor privately say that a messy and protracted showdown with the GOP-controlled legislature could damage Corbett's bid for a second term.
For his part, the governor said Tuesday that he remained optimistic that he and the legislature can meet the budget deadline. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) told the Associated Press this week that he was telling his members to prepare to work into July.
Earlier this year, the governor proposed a $29.4 billion budget that, among other things, would boost funding for public schools. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/19/14
And Democrats like Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D. PA) have been slamming Corbett on his latest budget proposals:Asked repeatedly about how he planned to pay for new education programs and other initiatives included in the $29 billion spending plan without a tax increase, Corbett said he first wanted to address big-ticket "cost-drivers" such as pensions and maybe score a win on liquor reform before he'd talk about what those in the politics biz charmingly (and euphemistically) refer to as "revenue enhancements."
And maybe, just maybe, those enhancements could include a fracking tax or a higher cigarette tax or tweaks to the sales tax -- all of which are being batted around. But don't expect any broad-based tax increases, such as a personal income tax hike (at least for now).
"There’s multiple options that we can look at,” Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said, according to The Morning Call of Allentown. “And I think the governor’s willing to talk about all of those options except the exceptions that I’ve [identified]. I’m not ruling out a severance tax. You didn’t hear me rule out a severance tax.”
And that brings us to our question of the morning: Corbett will almost certainly have to rely entirely on Republicans to produce the votes he needs on pension reform and liquor privatization or modernization (or whatever they're calling it these days).
So, that being the case, how does he get conservative Republicans in the House to bite on his plans if they know he's just going to go and raise taxes anyway?
According to administration Chief of Staff Leslie Gromis Baker, the administration is banking on enlightened self-interest, or, y'know, greed, to do the trick:
"As a caucus, and as individual members, they will want to see programs that legitimate and important funded at adequate levels," she said. "The governor has already showed them what a no new revenue budget looks like, and it's not pretty ... There will have to be discussions on where to get revenue and how to use it."
At the moment, getting House Republicans to agree to anything would do an injustice to cat-herders everywhere. We're reliably informed that the GOP is maybe three-dozen votes short of consensus on pension reform (as of Tuesday) and that as soon as leaders think they're getting near to an agreement on something, members wander off the reservation. - The Patriot-News, 6/18/14
Not to mention this is making Corbett look even more out of touch:At Gov. Tom Corbett’s June 17 update on the state budget progress, a visual aid featured our state budget total next to the total of the state’s pension crisis. While that might lead one to assume we would receive an update on one or more of these looming financial issues, no real new information was offered.
The governor failed to provide any insight into the proposals to resolve either issue; rather, he claimed that he would not discuss revenue generators until cost-driver issues are resolved.
As we face a crippling $1.4 billion budget deficit this fiscal year, let me be clear. The pension crisis and budget crisis are two separate issues. A solution to the pension crisis does not solve the state budget problems. By tying together these issues, the governor is holding hostage the budget – and effectively the residents of this commonwealth – in order to satisfy his agenda.
Furthermore, the governor’s reference that if each taxpayer shelled out $13,000, we could solve the pension crisis was abhorrent. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the governor’s cost drivers and see what our picture would look like if big business paid its fair share.
Including proposals in this year’s budget, Corbett’s business tax cuts exceed $2 billion. What has this gotten Pennsylvanians? While it’s true that unemployment rates have dropped, Pennsylvania is still ranked 46 out of 50 in job growth in the nation. More than 20,000 school employees have lost their jobs as a result of Corbett’s cuts to education, and many Pennsylvanians are still struggling to find family-sustaining jobs.
A failure to implement a fair and reasonable extraction tax on the Marcellus Shale industry has cost Pennsylvanians an estimated $2.8 billion to date. It’s estimated that the free pass the governor handed to the industry will cost anywhere from $24 billion to $48 billion by 2020. That alone is near enough to solve our state’s pension crisis.
Maybe the governor should spend some more time focusing on his cost drivers. By handing out favors to big businesses and industries, the governor is costing the people of Pennsylvania higher local taxes, decreased human services and reduced resources for our children. - The Sunday Dispatch, 6/19/14
So yeah, more bad press is the last thing Corbett needs. Meanwhile, Tom Wolf (D. PA) had a big guest come out for him to raise money to help defeat Corbett:A Washington Post-ABC News Poll released on the heels of the EPA announcement, found that 70 percent of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Even more remarkable, the poll found that even in states where a majority of electricity is produced by burning coal, 69 percent of people still supported government limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Wyoming, Indiana, and North Dakota, among other states, are all at least 50 percent dependent on coal.
Results are similar for more state-specific polling. A poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling found that a majority of North Carolinians, 58 percent, support the President’s plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.
In Pennsylvania, a whopping 72 percent of voters are in favor of the EPA’s proposed rule, according to a poll released earlier in the month that focused on attitudes in swing states. The poll was commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters and conducted by Hart Research Associates. Six hundred voters in Pennsylvania were surveyed.
Despite these results, both North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the letter of opposition sent to Obama.
A poll released in February found that voters in Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, and North Carolina overwhelmingly support EPA regulations to limit carbon pollution — even after hearing arguments for and against the regulations. The poll, conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, found that 64 percent of voters in these “red states” supported the measure. - Think Progress, 6/17/14
It's good O'Malley is helping Wolf raise money because he needs to raise more soon:Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley joined Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf yesterday at a fundraiser for the Allegheny County Democrats and their chair Nancy Patton Mills.
O’Malley’s presence alongside Wolf should be a welcomed sign for Pennsylvania Democrats as O’Malley is a popular two-term Governor with a nationally recognized name.
Some are speculating that O’Malley’s arrival in Pennsylvania is more than just a show of support for Wolf. O’Malley, who will be ineligible to run for Governor of Maryland in 2014, has shown signs that he will launch a campaign for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. In August of 2013, O’Malley stated that he was putting together the “framework of a candidacy for 2016.” O’Malley has had a notable tenure as Governor of Maryland and is already a well established name in the Democratic party, having spoken at both the 2004 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions and served as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association from 2011 to 2013. - Politics PA, 6/19/14
We've been able to defeat Republican gubernatorial candidates who've out raised our candidates before but with Corbett's abysmal polling numbers with a little over four months before the race, he will spend every penny trying to dupe voters and make people stay home. But it sounds like Wolf is working on a good plan to get voters out for him:Wolf, a businessman who poured $10 million into his winning campaign and leads Gov. Tom Corbett in the polls, reported Thursday that he raised $3.5 million over the five weeks that ended June 9. But his cash on hand continues to hover around $3 million.
Corbett was unopposed for the Republican nomination. He has $4.8 million in the bank, even though his re-election campaign spent money twice as fast as it came in during the weeks surrounding Pennsylvania's May primary.
Corbett received $1.4 million in contributions but spent nearly $3 million. That pushed his total expenditures to more than $11 million. - AP, 6/19/14
Plus not to mention Wolf knows how to create campaign ads:Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania governor, short-circuited a nasty fight for control of the state party Thursday by announcing an independent campaign committee to take over many of its functions.
Katie McGinty, a former rival for the nomination, will head the Campaign for a Fresh Start, Wolf said. The organization will handle communications, research, voter turnout efforts, and coordination with the campaign committees for Democratic legislators.
Wolf had named McGinty as his choice to lead the party. But the incumbent, Jim Burn of Allegheny County, was fighting to keep his job, raising the prospect of a floor fight at Saturday's state-committee meeting near Harrisburg.
"It became clear that the best way for Tom to move forward and get his message out was through this vehicle," said Mark Nicastre, a spokesman for the Wolf campaign. He said the candidate would not attend the Democratic State Committee event.
Wolf advisers and political analysts said his decision prevents a distracting intra-party fight and enables the candidate to avoid seeming beholden to party bosses.
"In an ironic way, this helps Tom Wolf, because it positions him as even more independent," said Larry Ceisler, a Democratic consultant in Philadelphia who is not involved in the campaign.
Wolf, a York businessman and former state revenue secretary, spent $10 million of his own money in his primary campaign. He had nearly 60 percent of the vote and won all 67 counties. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/19/14
Not to mention he has both a great platform and record to run on:Sometimes, the car defines the candidate.
Three decades ago, it was Sen. Tom Daschle tooling around South Dakota in his beat-up Pontiac Ventura. More recently, Scott Brown drove a sparkling pickup truck to victory in a 2010 Senate race in Massachusetts and, this year, resurrected the truck for a Senate bid in New Hampshire.
Now, the Pennsylvania governor's race has a standout vehicle:
Tom Wolf's Jeep.
The Jeep Wrangler, a 2006 model with 80,000 miles on it, has gone campaign-trail viral. Even the Democratic nominee wonders whether it might be on the road to upstaging him.
"Hey, I'm the one running," Wolf said in a phone interview Thursday.
But veteran campaign strategists say the rolling blue prop is golden - and helped cement Wolf's win last month in the primary.
The Jeep has been featured in no fewer than four TV and Internet ads, including one simply titled "Tom's Jeep."
On primary night, Wolf and his wife, Frances, pulled onto the York baseball stadium field in the Jeep to great fanfare. While the Wolfs greeted fans in the stands, others rushed to pose for selfies - with the Jeep. And now the vehicle's popularity is inspiring counterattacks by Republicans.
An anonymous opponent launched a Twitter account, @TomWolfsJeep, to poke fun at Wolf and his ride.
Gov. Corbett's reelection campaign released an ad featuring a broken-down Jeep and a revved-up full-size pickup to tamp down the Jeep-mania.
Wolf's commercials "were the best ads in Pennsylvania - and I've made 7,000 ads," said Neil Oxman, the Philadelphia Democratic campaign strategist, who is not involved in this governor's race. "Wolf made his campaign about his likability, and the ads made him the overwhelming nominee."
The brainchild of Philadelphia media consultant Saul Shorr, the Jeep ads hit the airwaves early this year, solidifying the Wolf narrative: He may be a millionaire businessman, but he drives an ordinary vehicle.
The ads rocketed Wolf from the bottom to the top of a crowded Democratic field, giving him a double-digit lead that even the early favorites couldn't break. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/16/14
Plus Wolf is also the type of businessman people respect and admire:Businessman tom wolf is the democratic nomination for pennsylvania governor. A straight forward message of rebuilding the middle-class and the economy here in p-a by putting forth an emphasis on job creation and education...a message wolf says he knows how to live up to, because he has first hand experience.
"keep in mind i actually created jobs..i have a business background...actually built a business twice and created lots of jobs in pa and beyond in the us. I know what it takes to create jobs. The business community is well suited to do that, but we need to set the table so that business's can do that in pennsylvania and to do that again"
Education? "pa's best day's are ahead of us..." how much does that have to do with education? We know gov. Corbett's record when it comes to the cuts.
"education is huge and it has a been the forefront of my campaign and primary..it's been the center of my life. My mother was a teacher..i went through...my daughter's went through the public school system's in york county and of course i went as far as you can go in education. I understand the power of education to transform lives. It's central to communities, it's central to the economy of pa."
As governor, wolf says he will restore governor corbett's $1 billion in cuts to education through a basic vision
"for me it's looking at education wholistically..education is a challenge for everybody...from the time they're born until the time they die. The challenges are different and the needs are different. If somebody's been laid off at work at the age of 50...that's a different set of educational challenges than a preschooler that is 3 years old. We need to figure out what the educational needs are. We have plenty of institutions that are capable of addressing individuals across the board from early childhood center's to community college's to universities."
While noticing wolf's message, something else may have caught your attention during his primary campaign run.
Election day is still a little under 5 months away still..but the democartic challenger knows he'll still be in a fight right to the finish..that despite already having a nice lead in early polls. - We Are Central PA, 6/19/14
And Wolf knows how to respond to Corbett's attacks:Democrat Tom Wolf toured the makeover of the old Connelly Trade School on Thursday afternoon, a conventional campaign event for someone who, admittedly, doesn’t come across as very political.
“I’m getting into politics very late in life, so that’s unusual by today’s standards, but I think that’s the way democracy is supposed to work,” Wolf told KDKA political editor Jon Delano in a sit-down interview.
Soft-spoken, deferential and laid back, the 65-year-old Democrat is different.
Delano: “Does that suggest a weakness?”
Wolf: “I have built a business twice.”
Wolf says his style should not be mistaken by anyone.
“I am a tough person. Now, my mother didn’t raise someone to be impolite. I say thank you and I smile, but I’m tough,” said Wolf. “I think sometimes we conflate nastiness with toughness, and I don’t.
“I am who I am, and I’m comfortable in my skin,” the Democrat opined.
His Republican opponents like to call him a millionaire.
Delano: “When they call you a millionaire, does that bother you?”
Wolf: “No, that’s what I am.”
“It’s sort of ironic that that would come out of the Republican side,” adds Wolf. “I actually earned my money the right way. I built a business and, as my ads said, shared 20 to 30 percent of my profits with my employees.”
And he doesn’t look like most candidates.
Wolf would also be the first governor since Gov. Samuel Pennypacker, elected in 1902, to have a full beard.
Wolf: “I’d be the first governor in a hundred years to have a beard.” - CBS Pittsburgh, 6/19/14
Wolf is a true blue Pennsylvania and exactly the right man we need as Governor. He may be well ahead in the polls but Corbett's fighting for his political life here and we can't take anything for granted. Both the Governor's race and the State Senate are up for grabs so please do contribute and get involved with Wolf, Lt. Governor nominee, State Senator Mike Stack (D. PA), and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party's campaigns:In a sit-down interview with KDKA political editor Jon Delano, Wolf rebuffed Republican claims that he is a tax-and-spend Democrat.
Wolf: “To label me that way, I understand why he would want to do that. That’s politics, but the truth is very different.”
Delano: “But you do support some tax increases.”
Wolf: “Oh, absolutely. I’ve been very consistent. I think what you’re talking about is a 5 percent severance tax.”
That’s the tax on natural gas drilling that Wolf supports and Corbett opposes.
But Wolf also says he’s open to other tax hikes in order to cut property taxes.
“I have talked about the need to reduce local property taxes. And I’d like to get the state share for funding public education from its average right now of 32 percent to 50 percent. That inherently calls for the increase in some state tax to offset the decrease in property tax,” said the Democrat.
Wolf says an increase in the state’s income tax should be revenue neutral, and he would exempt, say, the first $30,000 of income from taxes for everyone.
As for the increased gasoline tax approved by Corbett to fund transportation projects, Wolf demurs.
“It is something we really need to look at. That has gone up dramatically, at least in my area. Gasoline prices have risen because of that tax. We need to find a better, fairer way to distribute the cost of making sure our transportation system is intact.” - CBS Pittsburgh, 6/19/14