Carl Romanelli, 2006 Green Party candidate for US Senate in Pennsylvania, has written a piece at Citizen Voice entitled “What’s good for Iran is good for Pennsylvania; freedom of assembly, speech, due process”. Green Party watch has covered Carl Romanelli’s struggle with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s illegal campaign of harassment to deprive him of his right to run for office.
Last week Senator Robert Casey passed a resolution through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which recognizes and demands that Iranian citizens be afforded freedom of assembly, speech and due process. To be clear, the U.S. Greens are in complete agreement with Pennsylvania’s junior senator on this issue. In fact, we recognize that such individual democratic freedoms are an essential component of any person’s basic human rights. The difference between Greens and Mr. Casey is that Greens expect the rights of free speech and due process everywhere in the world, including here in Pennsylvania.
At first glance the above statement might seem over-the-top, but not so to those following the developments in the scandal known as Bonusgate. Most understand that bonusgate refers to the arrests of 25 Democrats and Republicans for using taxpayer funds for political purposes. It is the details that many do not understand fully.
There are essentially three aspects to the scandal: The use of state computers for political, not legislative, purposes. The use of state staff for political campaigns and a massive gathering of legislative aides for working on the petition challenges to Ralph Nader in 2004 and to my U.S. Senate candidacy in 2006. One can understand, to an extent, that there may be a blurring of lines of boundary with regard to working on your boss’ re-election or in sending communication. Considering how jaded the public is with regard to the political culture of corruption, it barely raises concern when such behavior is revealed. Such practice has been unchallenged for so long that it is often assumed. Further, the victim(s) in these instances is the Pennsylvania taxpayer, so the individual impact is rather muted.
However, in the effort against the voter signatures gathered by Ralph Nader and the Green Party we have living, breathing victims; namely Ralph Nader, Carl Romanelli and Larry Otter. Each of us remain encumbered with over $80,000 in fees and costs owed to the lawyers representing Democratic candidates John Kerry and Bob Casey. Shocking news considering that we now know that the original review of our signatures was done by state workers, on state time, in state offices, using state resources, and the resulting work product was then transferred to the aforementioned lawyers who produced what became the challenge petitions against the signatures we collected. Additionally, those who participated were awarded large, taxpayer-funded bonuses.
In looking to the petition effort, note that Nader and I were no threat whatsoever to any state legislator, as we were running for federal office. In 2006 the Green Party filed nearly 100,000 signatures on over 3,700 pages. This is the most signatures filed by any candidate, of any party, in the history of Pennsylvania elections. Challengers only have one week to prepare a challenge, thereby requiring a small army of workers in order to manage so much paper. Considering the financial and human resources of the Democratic Party, Bob Casey and the law firms used against us; there should be no need for legislative involvement.
Yet we can see through looking at the facts of bonusgate that the legislative involvement was massive. The Grand Jury Presentment of July, 2008 first confirmed that legislative aides were heavily involved in the petition challenges of 2004 and 2006. Seven have entered guilty pleas to various felony counts of conspiracy, conflict, and theft. The two highest ranking staffers to plead, Mike Manzo and Jeff Foreman, have entered pleas that specifically spell out their involvement in petition challenges. Finally, the ongoing Veon, Cott, Keefer and Rosepink trials continue to provide information confirming the conspiracy against the rights of Nader and me as citizens and as candidates. In the case of my plight it is important to note that all that was done to me was done in Bob Casey’s name by lawyers who boast of being Casey’s 2006 Election Law counsel. Also note that the illegal bonus program was run during the same period that Casey was our state treasurer.
The Greens clearly understand that Senator Casey remains the one person in the country that could make a difference regarding Otter and I. We have been asking Casey to weigh in and denounce the crimes committed in his name for years now. We ask that he demand his lawyers drop the punitive fees levied against us.
Please, Senator Casey, recognize that Pennsylvanians deserve the same civil rights you desire for Iranians. In the absence of Casey’s help one is compelled to ask: What did Bob Casey know and when did he know it?
Carl Romanelli resides in Wilkes-Barre. He is the Co-chair of the Luzerne County Green Party, State Committee delegate of the Pennsylvania Green Party and serves on the Green Party of the U.S. Media and International committees. He was a 2006 U.S. Senate candidate.