New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:43 pm

I've noticed a recent trend where it seems governement, politicians and their committees are starting to use the law and the lack of knowledge on the part of the small guy to corrupt the political process, that is at least what I would call it.

Two recent cases here locally that I'm aware of, About 3 or 4 years back a woman in Wilkes-Barre collected signatures for a petition to get a vote on the ballot in the city of Wilkes-Barre. The city sued claiming she collected them under false pretenses which may or may not be true, I believe the gist of the cities position was the ballot question would have changed the way government was run but she collected the signatures under the guise of stopping the closing of a firehouse in her neighborhood... which if the ballot was successful would certainly could have an impact on such a decision.

She withdrew the petition a few days or possibly even hours before it was to go before a judge. The city then turned around and successfully sued her in county court and won a judgment for over $11,000 for expenses related to the petition. That decision was reversed at the appellate level and just recently she successfully won a lawsuit for over $60,000 because the city violated her constitutional rights. In her case the slow wheels of justice proved successful to some extent however the question never made it onto the ballot and how many other people will be willing to go through such an ordeal? This is really the primary concern here.

The other case I'm aware of is of Carl Romanelli who is being sued for the costs of litigation by the Democrats after they successfully blocked his nomination petitions. What is really disheartening is there are allegations these cases might have been brought against both Romanelli and Nader on the taxpayers dime as part of the bonusgate scandal in Harrisburg where staffers were doing political work while being paid by the state. There's an interesting op-ed piece here from Ralph Nader because he too was a victim of the same tactics:


http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/38520417.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


If you want to run for public office in Pennsylvania, and you're neither a Republican nor a Democrat, you'd better be prepared to bet the farm. Carl Romanelli learned that lesson the hard way after campaigning for U.S. Senate on the Green Party ticket in 2006.

After a successful challenge to his nomination petitions by Democrats, represented by Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg charged Romanelli with more than $80,000 in litigation costs. Romanelli, a retired family court officer, says that would "destroy" him financially.

Romanelli's is only the second candidacy in U.S. history to be hit with such costs. My 2004 presidential candidacy was the first. Represented by Reed Smith, Democrats successfully challenged my nomination petitions, and the Commonwealth Court ordered us to pick up the legal bill - once again, more than $80,000.


I don't know about how your view it but it appears to me there has been an epidemic of challenges to candidates over the last few years and many of them being thrown off the ballot on technicalities. 20/20 recently had a piece on this and apparently it is the direct result of campaign finance reform. Only our congress could come up with legislation that was supposed to prevent candidates from rolling over the little guy that does the exact opposite and be able sit on national television and state they voted for bill to stop the ludicrous amount of money given to some candidates.

The gist of it is this the legislation passed a few years back simply shifted many of the direct contributions going to candidates themselves to other places. The new legislation is so convoluted you need an attorney or someone that understands it if you plan to run for office or will run afoul of the law and inevitably be thrown off the ballot. Similar state legislation is being used even on local politicians or small town groups that do not have the resources to file correctly. I know locally there is many people thrown off every year recently.

The 20/20 minutes piece had a few guests all experts on the subject, after explaining how easy it was to stay within the rules the 20/20 interviewer offered to allow them to fill the application out themselves. They all declined.

Richard S.
 
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: ken On: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:50 pm

Sounds like their out to protect their jobs and make it real hard for anybody to run againist them. Thats why the only way to fix the country is term limits at all levels of goverment , local and feds.
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: Black_And_Blue On: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:13 pm

The whole process is gamed. Color me cynical. Unless or until there is a Constitution Party the shenanigans will continue.

It's like 3 card Monte and your the mark, only this time there are just two cards being played and the Queen of Hearts isn't even on the table.
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: jpete On: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:47 am

Black_And_Blue wrote:The whole process is gamed. Color me cynical. Unless or until there is a Constitution Party the shenanigans will continue.

It's like 3 card Monte and your the mark, only this time there are just two cards being played and the Queen of Hearts isn't even on the table.


There IS a Constitution Party and a friend of mine ran for Congress with them, in PA!


And I voted for Chuck Baldwin for President, also with the Constitution Party!

Keep an eye out for them! :D
jpete
 
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:18 am

ken wrote:Sounds like their out to protect their jobs and make it real hard for anybody to run againist them. Thats why the only way to fix the country is term limits at all levels of government , local and feds.


I agree! Political positions should be a short term public service & not a life long career which just invites corruption. (& yes, I would be willing to give up a good Senator or Congressman to avoid the chance of corruption in others)
Congressional committee chairmen would be selected on merit rather than seniority as it is now.
Last edited by Devil505 on Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Devil505
 
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: TimV On: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:12 am

I dont think its really a new trend.
Its called politics as it always was.
Use your power and position to keep your place at the "top of the heap" and use any means at all to do it.
So what if the other guy doesnt have the same advantages you do? Life is good for incumbents .
Newcomers dont stand a chance. the "in's" will eat you up and spit you out before you get your name on a ballot almost everytime if your not a like thinking sheep marching to the Republican or Democrat drummer.
Politicians dont like changes or new ideas .They are incharge and use anything to stay in charge. ESPECIALLY THE LAW TO DO IT!!! THEY WRITE THEM !!
TimV
 
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:57 am

TimV wrote:I dont think its really a new trend.
Its called politics as it always was.


Incumbents have always leveraged their power to get reelected and they have a huge advantage being in office but this is little bit different in that in that they are using ther law to defeat the opposition as opposed to beating them at the voting booth. There really is a huge difference when you look at it that way.
Richard S.
 
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Re: New Trend? Use the law to corrupt the political process.

PostBy: mikeandgerry On: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:23 pm

No doubt about it, a candidate will need to be a wealthy lawyer or wealthy businessman with a staff of lawyers to run for office.

The democrats, republicans and the bureaucrats don't care about your civil rights. They care about their power.

That the woman's case in Wilkes-Barre went to a judgement in a trial is absurd. The idiot judge should have thrown it out as an obvious violation of her Constitutional rights. It was intimidation through and through, even if she was wrong procedurally.
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