Never-Trump group gives Pa. GOP congressmen mostly Fs for supporting democratic norms | Tuesday Morning Coffee

U.S. Rep Mike Kelly. (Oversight and Reform Committee/Flickr)

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
It’s no secret that Pennsylvania’s Republican delegation on Capitol Hill is doggedly loyal to former President Donald Trump.

One of them, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th Districtappealed to the U.S Supreme Court to get the Keystone State’s 2020 election results tossed. Another, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, was among those who signed onto an utterly frivolous lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general that tried to accomplish the same goal.

Until now, however, there’s been no extensive cataloguing of the GOP skulduggery that fed the baseless ‘Stop the Steal‘ movement, and helped fire the partisan passions that led to the Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol that left at least five people dead.

Enter the Never-Trump group Defending Democracy Togetherwhich is out with a new report card grading GOP lawmakers’ performance during the age of Trump. It was put together by the group’s Republican Accountability Project, co-chaired by OIivia Troye, a former aide to ex-Vice President Mike Pence, who very publicly broke with the White House last fall over its management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All told, seven of the Keystone State’s nine Republican U.S. House members got F’s for their lamentable defense of democracy and craven loyalty to a would-be dictator who tried to upend the election results.

The scores were based “on whether they signed onto the amicus brief filed in the Texas lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to nullify votes cast during the 2020 presidential election, whether they objected to the certification of Electoral College votes from at least one state, whether they made public statements that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and if they voted to hold Donald Trump accountable via impeachment or conviction,” the group said in a statement.

Below, a look at how Pennsylvania’s Republicans fared.

U.S. Rep Brian Fitzpatrick. (AFGE/Flickr)

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District: C-Minus
U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District: F
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District: F
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District: D-Minus
U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District: F
U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District: F
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District: F
U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District: F
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District: F

Fitzpatrick, who often votes with Democrats, earned his C-Minus for not signing onto the Texas lawsuit and supporting the certification of the state’s electoral college results. Smucker got his D-Minus for not signing onto the Texas lawsuit.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who is retiring from politics when his current term expires in 2022, got an A on his report card, going four for four on the dark money group’s grading metrics.

“Ever since Jan. 6, every congressional Republican who supported the Big Lie has been trying to distract from their shameful behavior and pretend like the insurrection never happened,” Sarah Longwell, the group’s executive director said in a statement. “Our new report card will serve as a permanent record of their bravery or cowardice. Reporters, donors, and their constituents will be able to quickly and easily find out how their representatives in Congress acted when it mattered.”

The Republican group said it’s pledged to raise and spend $50 million during next year’s mid-term elections to defend GOP lawmakers who worked to hold Trump accountable. Last October, Open Secrets named Defending Democracy Together the top dark money spender of the 2020 cycle at that point.

Through last October, the group spent $11.5 million on independent expenditures opposing Trump or backing then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to Open Secrets.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
The Capital-Star’s 2021 Primary Voters Guide is out this morning. 
And in it, you’ll find all you’ll need to know about the key races and questions confronting you this campaign season:

Stephen Caruso has what you need to know about the races for Pennsylvania’s three, statewide appellate courts.

Cassie Miller answers your questions about the 2021 primary ballot questions.

And from gone, but not forgotten, Staff Reporter Elizabeth Hardison, here’s everything you need to know about casting your ballot in-person, or by mail, in the May 18 canvass.

More Coverage:

Confirming what most political insiders already knew, Pennsylvania will lose a congressional district during the upcoming round of redistricting. Cassie Miller dives into the new U.S. Census data that’ll determine the Keystone State’s future for the next decade.

In more redistricting news, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which is in charge of drawing state legislative district lines, held its first round of public interviews for its fifth member: an unbiased chairperson who will break ties and serve as referees during partisan tantrums between lawmakers. The panel heard from 28 applicants, representing a broad range of experiences, on Monday, I report.

The Wolf administration on Monday rolled out a new plan to get shots into the arms of homebound Pennsylvanians, Cassie Miller also reports.

On our Commentary Page this morning, a trio of experts explain how lifting children out of poverty today will help them tomorrow. And a Pittsburgh attorney says it’s time for legislative Republicans to drop their opposition to legalized recreational cannabis.

(Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

Elsewhere.
SEPTA
 says it will forge ahead with modernizing its trolley service in an ‘ambitious’ capital budget, the Inquirer reports.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will vote on university mergers on Wednesday, the Post-Gazette reports.
Former Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, now a CNN analyst, is taking heat for remarks he made about Native AmericansPennLive reports.
The pandemic has given rise to anti-Semitic Zoom bombing in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the Associated Press reports (via LancasterOnline).
Tougher penalties take effect today for Pennsylvania drivers who fail to pull over for emergency vehicles, the Morning Call reports.
The Citizens’ Voice profiles efforts to vaccinate local restaurant workers.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Philadelphia has cleared providers to resume using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, WHYY-FM reports.
A new poll suggests that Pittsburgh residents might actually like bike lanesWESA-FM reports.
Erie’s post master has sued a mail carrier in that ballot fraud case from last year, GoErie reports (paywall).
The mother of a Uniontown man who was fatally shot isn’t giving up her search for answers, the Herald-Standard reports.  
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Malcolm Kenyatta has raised close to $375K in the first quarter of the year, PoliticsPA reports.
Adoptees are pressing states for their original birth certificates so they can track their genetic information, Stateline.org reports.
Roll Call has eight takeaways from the new U.S. Census reapportionment data.

What Goes On.
The Senate comes in at 1 p.m. today. The House is out until May 3. Here’s a look at the day’s committee action.
9 a.m., 523 South Irvis: The House and Senate Environmental Resources & Energy committees hold a joint meeting.
9 a.m., Hearing Room 1, North Office Building: Legislative Reapportionment Commission
9 a.m., 140 Main Capitol: Performance-Based Budget Board
10 a.m., Senate Chamber: Senate Education Committee
11 a.m., Senate Chamber: Intergovernmental Operations Committee

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Jim Struzzi
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Dave Zimmerman
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Sen. Mario Scavello
5:30 p.m.: 
Reception for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman
5:30 p.m.: 
Reception for Rep. Todd Stephens
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a truly ridiculous $14,250 today.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 (so far) has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Stacy Kreideman at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor 
celebrated another trip around the sun on Monday. In his honor, here’s one of my favorite Duran Duran tracks. From their 2004 comeback LP ‘Astronaut,’ here’s ‘Reach Up For the Sunrise’.

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Carolina dropped a toughie, losing 4-3 in overtime to Dallas 
on Monday night. On the upside, the ‘Canes clinched a playoff berth anyway.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press