Strong arm tactics are afoot in Pennsylvania.
Candidates running for the Republican State Committee, who did not have party backing, had their first and fourteenth amendment rights violated by a judge elected last year who did have party backing. Angry GOP backed candidates who were facing challenges from "Tea Party" candidates in the primary did not want a fair election. They went so far as to get a court order that would not allow the other candidates to hand out fliers.
Judge Robert O. Baldi
Now let's make clear first what we are talking about here. The Republican State Committee is not
a public office, so many of the statutes on the books regarding campaigning do not apply. The same type of tactics you will read about below are probably happening in your state. Angry party hacks who are trying to hold onto control are using lackeys that they helped get elected to shut down any opposition. In this case they used two judges, but if they can use judges, what other backroom tactics are they using to destroy legitimate candidates all to hold onto their control and power?
I'll let the full story be told below by The Kitchen Table Patriots, but pay particular attention to the portion of law dealing with the "public office" stipulation. That is what was the turning point for me in reading their arguments below (and is indicated by the lightbulb icon). Also the "due process" clause where they were not notified that some sort of kangaroo court was going on behind the scenes against them, without allowing them to present their own evidence, is indeed troubling.
Judge Gary Gilman
I have not had a chance to look at the fliers, but if indeed they stated that they were donated "Courtesy of Liberty Printing, Inc.", everything that these candidates did was clearly within the law. The fact that their opponents took this court order "remedy" and ran people down confiscating simple fliers that already fell within the law is unconscionable. On top of this however, the media ran with the story presented by the endorsed candidates and claimed that tea party candidates naively broke election rules, a clearly false claim upon basic examination (of which the accused candidates never had a chance to defend themselves).
These actions basically hamstrung these candidates on election day and now that the elections are over there is no "do over". It seems to me that was the plan all along, not only by the GOP backed candidates, but their GOP backed judge, Robert O. Baldi.
Below from The Kitchen Table Patriots, in full.
Should The Violations of
Individuals' Constitutional Rights Be Ignored?
We Believe in Our Constitutional Rights!!!
Ten (10) loosely connected individuals (8 men & 2 women) filed to run for Republican State Committee in the May 18th 2010 primary election. State Committee is a county-wide elected office inside the Republican Party, not a public office. None of these ten Republican activists were "endorsed" by the Bucks County GOP whose leadership was unhappy to know that their endorsed candidates had competition.
A print shop donated fliers in support of the unendorsed candidates for State Committee. There were no names of any candidate running for public office on the fliers. The footnote of the fliers read "Courtesy of Liberty Printing, Inc." These fliers were distributed among volunteers throughout Bucks County who peacefully handed them to voters outside the polls on election day in accordance with their free speech rights under the First Amendment.
Three "endorsed" Republican State Committee candidates obtained a Court Order on the morning of the Primary Election, May 18th 2010 to stop the fliers from being disseminated
Under the watchful eye of Bucks County GOP leadership, Raymond "Skip" Goodnoe, Joseph A. Cullen & George Komelasky filed a lawsuit against their fellow Republicans (the 10 unendorsed candidates) and against the general public. The Court Order was issued by Judge Baldi and is attached. No notice was given to the Respondents and no due process occurred. Only the Plaintiffs were in the courtroom when the Court Order was obtained.
Two sections of the election code were cited by Judge Baldi as supposedly being violated: 25 P.S. Section 3258 and 25 P.S. 3253. No other aspect of law was cited as the reason for the Court Order. The Court Order is incredibly broad. It states that nobody is allowed to distribute the fliers (hence the naming of "John Doe" as a Defendant).
Once the Baldi Court Order was obtained, Republicans loyal to the Party machine began to distribute it around polling stations throughout Bucks County to other Republicans helping the ten (10) "tea party" candidates. Stories of individuals being threatened and intimidated quickly began to surface. The tea party candidates had no idea that a Court hearing had occurred in their absence.
Judge Baldi cited two sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code as the rationale for his Court Order, issued at 11:25am:
1. 25 P.S. Section 3258, which reads in relevant part as follows:
(a) Whenever any person makes an expenditure for the purpose of financing communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, or ballot questions, through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, direct mailing, or any other type of general public political advertising, such communication:
(1) If authorized by the candidate, his authorized political committee or their agents, shall clearly and conspicuously state that the communication has been authorized.
(2) If not authorized by a candidate, his authorized political committee, or their agents, shall clearly and conspicuously state the name of the person who made or financed the expenditure for the communication, including, in the case of a political committee the name of any affiliated or connected organization.
2. 25 P.S. 3253, which reads in relevant part as follows:
Contributions or Expenditures by National Banks, Corporations or Unincorporated Associations.
(a) It is unlawful for any National or State bank, or any corporation, incorporated under the laws of this or any other state or any foreign country or any unincorporated association, except those corporations formed primarily for political purposes or as a political committee, to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with the election of any candidate or for any political purpose whatever except in connection with any question to be voted on by the electors of this Commonwealth. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful for any candidate, political committee, or other person to knowingly accept or receive any contribution prohibited by this section, or for any officer or any director of any corporation, bank, or any unincorporated association to consent to any contribution or expenditure by the corporation, bank or unincorporated association, as the case may be, prohibited by this section.
JUDGE BALDI WAS WRONG IN HIS INTERPRETATION OF PA's ELECTION CODE
Corporations can make independent expenditures to a candidate's campaign
Under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC it is permissible for a corporation to contribute to a candidate's campaign. The Pennsylvania Department of State has promulgated its interpretation of the Citizens United ruling as it pertains to 25 P.S. 3253 (relating to expenditures by corporations) in PA's election code. This statement can be read online at:
The PA Dept. of State has publicly stated that 25 P.S. 3253 cannot be constitutionally enforced when there is no coordination between a candidate and the corporation that makes the political contribution. On its face, the Court Order from Judge Baldi (citing an alleged violation of 25 P.S. 3253) was an unconstitutional Court Order. Baldi had no evidence to suggest that Liberty Printing Company had coordinated with all of the named Respondents with respect to the authorization and printing of the fliers. And Baldi did not permit any Respondent to have a hearing before he issued his Court Order.
Judge Baldi further held that the fliers did not properly state who paid and authorized them. This is a spurious claim at best considering that the words "Courtesy of Liberty Printing Inc." were printed on the fliers. Although these points are generically of interest, the biggest legal issue follows.
The advertising requirements of 25 P.S. Section 3258 pertain to a "candidate"
The prohibition on corporate contributions of 25 P.S. 3253 pertain to a "candidate"
25 P.S. Section 3241
(a) The word "candidate" shall mean any individual who seeks nomination or election to public office, other than a judge of elections or inspector of elections, whether or not such individual is nominated or elected.
FACT: Republican State Committee is NOT a public office. It is a party office.
The supposed ban on corporate contributions and also the advertising requirements of the PA election code do not apply to candidates seeking the office of State Committee. Indeed, the Pennsylvania Department of State openly states on its website that no campaign finance reports are required for candidates seeking to be elected to Republican State Committee:
JUDGE GILMAN AMENDED JUDGE BALDI'S ORDER LATER IN THE DAY AND WAS EQUALLY WRONG IN HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE PA ELECTION CODE
Having shut down the distribution of the fliers earlier in the day (the Baldi Court Order), a few tea party candidates heard that a second hearing was taking place in the afternoon. Some attorneys spoke at that hearing on behalf of some of the affected tea party candidates. Again, no legitimate due process was observed and not everyone was represented.
At the second hearing, Gilman modified but reaffirmed the essence of Baldi's Order. Gilman held that the distribution of the fliers could resume so long as the fliers were marked as to who paid for and/or authorized them.
But the fact remains that the advertising requirements of 25 P.S. Section 3258 cited by Judge Baldi, and later reaffirmed by Judge Gilman, only pertain to candidates seeking public office.
The damage had been done by Judge Baldi and Judge Gilman did little to undo that damage
The "establishment" GOP endorsed candidates cared little for the law on May 18, 2010. Their sole mission was to shut down the distribution of the fliers of unendorsed Republicans, in order to influence the outcome of the election. After the Baldi Court Order was issued, horror stories being to surface about fliers being confiscated at polls, with law-abiding Americans being threatened and harassed for the supposed "crime" of standing outside a polling station to peacefully support the candidates of their choice.
JUDGES BALDI & GILMAN TRASHED THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND VIOLATED THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF THE UNENDORSED REPUBLICANS AND THEIR GRASS ROOTS SUPPORTERS
It is inconceivable that when Judge Baldi was first presented with a Petition challenging the legality of the fliers being handed out by tea party activists, that he could have held a hearing without any notice being served on the opposing party and without the opposing party being present in the court room. That is a violation of the due process protection requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thereafter, the "remedy" that Baldi imposed on the alleged violation of the PA election code was to outright ban the distribution of the fliers by anyone. Such sweeping and egregious action constitutes a violation of the First Amendment free speech rights of the tea party candidates and the general public.
The insinuation in media stories that tea party candidates naively broke an election rule is false. Judges Baldi & Gilman who were elected with the Bucks County GOP endorsement last year were wrong. The Court Orders and the execution of those Orders (confiscation of materials) were unconstitutional and un-American.
We Believe in Conviction Over Party!!!
What is the tea party? What are we here to do? Are we here to just say Amen to whatever the party decides or are we here to uphold the Constitution of the United States and our rights as citizens of this great country?
We hope we have been able to shed some light into this issue.
The Kitchen Table Patriots