Rick Santorum in the news again...

I had written earlier about how Senator Santorum from Pennsylvania was trying to shut down this excellent and free weather service provided by the US Government and require everyone to use a fee-based commercial weather service for the same information. Start here and follow the links: Stormy Weather He has excellent manners on the Senate Floor too -- comparing some Democrats to Adolph Hitler. I even got a troll posting a comment on Santorum's proposal from someone using a computer at Accuweather (one of the companies that stands to benefit from this and who has contributed to Senator Santorum's campaign). Well, it seems that he is having some problems with his charity and some minor ethics issues. From Bob Casey's website is this video outlining some of the interconnections as well as links to several newspaper articles. The Philadelphia Inquirer website has this article:
Big donor to Rick's charity was seeking federal aid
The largest known giver to a controversial charity founded by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum made its $25,000 donation as the senator was working to win as much as $8.5 million in federal aid for the donor's project in Delaware County.

Federal tax records show that Preferred Real Estate Inc., the developer of the Wharf at Rivertown project in Chester, wrote the check to Santorum's Operation Good Neighbor Foundation in 2002.

On his campaign Web site, Santorum boasts of winning $8.5 million in federal aid for the riverfront redevelopment of an abandoned Peco Energy plant - an effort that culminated in the earmarking of $6 million in highway money last year.

But good-government experts were troubled by the appearance of a developer giving money to the senator's charity at the same time it was lobbying for federal dollars. Unlike a campaign contribution, checks to a charity can be written by a corporation and are not subject to any limit.

"It's a neat window into how Washington works," said Gary Ruskin of the Congressional Accountability Project, one of several watchdogs troubled by the potential conflicts when a member of Congress also solicits funds for a charity he runs. "It shows that, more and more, Washington is for sale."

The Operation Good Neighbor Foundation - a charity that Santorum established in 2001 with the aim of helping faith-based groups and others battling poverty and social ills - already is under fire for spending considerably less on aid and more on expenses than the Better Business Bureau and other charitable watchdogs recommend.

Also, several campaign aides are on the payroll or connected with the charity, including Santorum's campaign finance chief, lobbyist Rob Bickhart, who's been paid $75,000 by Operation Good Neighbor in salary and whose company also receives rent from the charity.
His own finances don't really bear close examination either. From The American Prospect:
With A Little Help From His Friends
Exclusive: An investigation into the private and public finances of Rick Santorum suggests that the Senate GOP might want to reconsider making him its ethics czar.
And a bit more:
The Santorums bought their oversized Shenstone "estate" even though his financial disclosure forms since 2001 have shown little family income beyond his Senate salary, now $162,100, and he admits that life hasn�t been financially easy. The senator made a startling remark to The New York Times Magazine last spring: "We live paycheck to paycheck, absolutely." But he explained that his parents help out. "They�re by no means wealthy -- they�re two retired VA [Veterans Administration] employees -- but they�ll send a check every now and then," he said.

The Prospect decided to heed Santorum�s advice by taking �an honest look at the family budget� -- his family budget. What we found is that Santorum�s exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren�t available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania -- namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia. Although a Santorum aide defends those charges as legitimate political costs, good-government experts say the expenditures are at best unconventional, and at worst a possible violation of Senate rules, and the purchases appear to be unorthodox when compared with other senators� filings. Santorum�s PAC -- a "leadership PAC," whose purpose is to dispense money to other Republican candidates -- used just 18.1 percent of its money to that end over a recent five-year period, a lower number than other leadership PACs of top senators from both parties.
The article goes into a good bit of detail about the mortgage that Santorum got for this $400K residence. I had thought him to be an odious little carbuncle for the Accuweather crap, now I just think that he is dirty.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 25, 2006 7:40 PM.

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