Monday, November 17, 2008


A Captain Renault post: There was an interesting article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday regarding John Perzel's and the House Republicans' massive expenditures for database and data mining services over the last 6 years. The article points out that Perzel and the Republicans spent well over $9 million of taxpayers money on a contract with a New Orleans based firm for, among other services, "voter registration information, voting history, and voting effectiveness for all registered voters within each district." It's not hard to imagine what the House Republicans would do with this voter information collected on the taxpayers dime.

Of course, Perzel and the rest of the Republicans deny that this data contract had anything to do with campaigning, campaign work, or any political use whatsoever. I don't know about you, but mark me down as skeptical -- with a capital S. According to all of the published reports I've read, this $9 million contract was considerably more than anything the House Democrats spent on data services. Not surprisingly, in addition to the taxpayer paid contract, the New Orleans based firm simultaneously had a contract with the House Republican Campaign Committee and the John Perzel Re-election Committee to provide amazingly similar services. Just a coincidence I am sure. The last time I checked, some House Democrats got indicted for allegedly mixing taxpayer paid computer services with campaign activities. I can't wait to see how Corbett explains not indicting any Republicans for conduct and contracts demonstrably similar to those of the House Democrats.

Also of interest, the data contract reported on in the Inquirer article is on top of a more than $2 million contract Perzel and the Republicans had for years with a political/campaign technology company called Aristotle. Look it up for yourself and you can see that this company provides political and campaign data and technology services for campaigns all over the country. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported in September on the grand jury investigation of this Republican Aristotle contract. According to that article, the language in the Aristotle contract contained blatant language describing the political use of the data collected. Here is an excerpt from the taxpayer paid contract according to the PPG:

"The amendment, signed by J. Anthony Painter, then director of Republican Information Technologies and later an official with Aristotle, calls for each House district in Pennsylvania to be created as a database "populated by data provided by the caucus" and available to caucus staff.

"The caucus will provide the necessary staff to provide for the proper editing of the address lists for all districts so that all districts will be properly loaded and ready for use in the elections," the amendment reads."

So there's another one for Corbett and Perzel to explain when no indictments are handed down. That should be very interesting.

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