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Pennsylvania Democrats have asked the Federal Election Commission to look into whether GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sean Parnell improperly profited from the purchase of his best-selling books his campaign purchased and then gave away to supporters and promoted on its social media channels.
A filing reviewed by the Capital-Star claims that Parnell, the author of five thrillers, improperly received royalty payments from the purchase of $2,500 in books, or “donor mementos’ his campaign purchased from his publisher. Under campaign finance law, any royalties derived from those sales must be donated to charity.
The filing alleges that there “is no indication that HarperCollins Publishers [Parnell’s publisher] donated Mr. Parnell’s royalties from the Donor Memento purchases to a charitable organization that is not associated with Mr. Parnell or excluded such sales from the calculation of royalties that likely accrued to Mr. Parnell.”
“Accordingly, the evidence strongly suggests that Mr. Parnell violated the Act’s prohibition on personal use by receiving royalties on his Committee’s book purchases—a conversion of campaign funds into personal use,” the filing asserts.
The complaint, filed by state Democratic Party Executive Director Jason Henry, names Parnell, individually, and his campaign, as respondents.
It asks federal regulators to “immediately investigate these violations and that Respondents be enjoined from further violations and be fined the maximum amount permitted by law.”
In a statement, Jack Doyle, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Democrats, said the FEC needs to investigate what he characterized as Parnell’s “apparent misuse of campaign resources for his own gain.”
The complaint also charges that Parnell’s campaign violated prohibitions against using campaign assets to promote the books in a number of social media posts.
“Respondents have published at least twenty-five promotional posts on social media, the majority of which featured large photos of his book(s),” the complaint alleges. “These twenty-five posts are clearly in excess of the two sentences of promotional material that the Commission has considered de minimis.”
That promotional blitz also “[appears] to have entailed the use of substantial campaign staff time and campaign resources. For instance, some of the posts include custom-designed countdown graphics to his latest book’s release date … The Committee also touted at least one organized giveaway contest in which 100 copies of a Parnell book were given to winning contestants,” the complaint alleges.
Parnell, a veteran, a onetime congressional candidate, and frequent Fox News guest, is one of the large pack of Republican hopefuls looking to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in 2022. Alone among the candidates, he’s nabbed the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.
In a statement, Parnell’s spokesman, Ian Prior, said the campaign had not “received anything from FEC as it relates to a complaint.
“But if the Pennsylvania Democratic Party wants to learn about patriotic duty and love of country, we will happily send them a copy of Sean Parnell’s Outlaw Platoon,” Prior said, referring to one of the books at issue in the complaint.
Some mysterious text messages in Harrisburg’s contested mayoral race that encourage voters to stay home if they’re not 100 percent sold on Democratic nominee Wanda Williams have befuddled politicos, Stephen Caruso reports.
Looking to bolster his administration’s efforts to address environmental justice, Gov. Tom Wolf has issued an executive order to create a series of roles geared toward combating climate change and supporting communities harmed by pollution, Marley Parish reports.
A Pennsylvania whistleblower is accusing Ohio-based Aetna of making it impossible for the parents of some kids on Medicaid to find doctors. The insurer then pocketed money from the state for services not rendered, Marty Schladen, of our sibling site, the Ohio Capital Journal, reports.
President Joe Biden met with congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to pitch lawmakers on a new slimmed-down framework for what would be included in a massive social reform package, according to senior administration officials, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Ariana Figueroa writes.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 4,312 new cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth on Thursday, up from Wednesday’s tally of 4,178 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 1.55 million since the start of the pandemic, I report.
For Allentown’s Latinos, approval of a November ballot question ending English as city’s official language would excise a hateful legacy, Correspondent Katherine Reinhard reports.
On our Commentary Page this morning, a University of Oregon expert explains how the landmark Pennsylvania case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey started the attack on abortion rights. And a Virginia mom, who’s disabled and on a fixed income, says the Biden administration’s child tax credit is helping her make ends meet.
En La Estrella Capital: ‘Así es como seguimos siendo competitivos’: los defensores piden a los legisladores que aprueben un proyecto de ley que permita la matrícula estatal y la ayuda para los residentes indocumentados.
The Inquirer looks at local races in Erie and Northampton counties, which President Joe Biden carried in 2020, and what they could portend for 2022.
Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon University ordered everyone on campus to get vaccinated: 98 percent have complied, the Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive previews what you need to know to vote on Election Day.
Local Democrats have accused GOP school board candidates in Elizabethtown of violating state election law, LancasterOnline reports.
Bethlehem’s mayoral candidates clashed over a number of issues, but agreed on others, during a debate on Thursday night. The Morning Call has the details.
Local officials in Luzerne County are inviting the public to watch a demonstration of how mail-in ballots are processed, the Citizens’ Voice reports.
The family of the late Walter Wallace Jr., has been awarded a wrongful death settlement by the city of Philadelphia, WHYY-FM reports.
In Berks County, advocates and lawmakers are calling on local officials to accept ballots for more than two weeks after Election Day to honor an incorrect deadline included in Spanish-language ballots, WITF-FM reports.
In Erie County, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have offered a $5,000 reward in the case of dead pit bulls who were found shot in a local reservoir, GoErie reports.
Some states are obscuring their pandemic data from prisons, Stateline.org reports.
The U.S. House punted on a vote on the infrastructure bill, instead passing a highway funding extension, while progressives continue to press for a concurrent vote on the budget reconciliation bill and the infrastructure package. Roll Call has the details.
Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:
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What Goes On
The desk is clear. Enjoy the silence.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
9 a.m.: Annual clay shoot for Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin. Admission runs $50 to $750.
Gov. Tom Wolf heads to Sunbury, Pa., for a 2 p.m. newser at. a local coffee company.
Okay, so this one was a request — and a bit out of the ordinary for us. But here’s ‘Hot Legs,’ from Rod Stewart to get your Halloweekend rolling.
Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
After three consecutive losses, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will have to refine his tactics in his squad’s post-Jack Grealish era, The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning suggests.
And now you’re up to date.
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