Everyone recognizes it to be quite irregular an organization. Just this morning the Philadelphia Inquirer's John Baer lists it as one of the factors that may sink his presidential bid after further scrutiny by the national media. (Inquirer 1/4/2012) Perhaps he's right.
But, here at CasablancaPA, we can't help but draw the comparison to former State Representative Mike Veon's non-profit, Beaver Initiative for Growth, the subject of Veon's trial later this month. (Tribune Review 9/1/2010)
The charges brought against Veon by then Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate, now Governor Tom Corbett accused BIG of spending too much money on overhead and salaries, inappropriately mixing political and legislative work with that of the non-profit's, and using the non-profit's fund to benefit close personal and political friends. (Tribune Review 3/26/2009)
Every one of those accusations applies to Santorum's Operation Good Neighbor. There was a shockingly low ratio of giving to overhead. (“Sen. Santorum’s home mortgage foundation outlays raise questions” Philadelphia Daily News, 2/21/2006)
There was a completely unacceptable blending of the non-profit operations with his legislative and political operations. (“Santorum’s Operation Good Neighbor is low on giving, high on fees” Associated Press, 2/25/2006)
And, there was plenty of evidence that government contracts were awarded to friends of the non-profit and Santorum’s political causes and personal campaign. (“Big donor to Rick’s charity was seeking federal aid” Philadelphia Daily News, 3/2/2006; “Group tied to Santorum campaign gets $250,000 grant” Philadelphia Daily News, 3/24/2006)
At the time of Veon's arrest, Corbett falsely promised that he would be looking into other Pennsylvania non-profits that are connected to politicians:
"'The grand jury is also investigating other nonprofit organizations run by elected officials and funded by taxpayers' dollars,' Corbett said. 'This is far from a completed investigation.'" (Tribune Review 3/26/09)
Yet, Corbett never looked at Operation Good Neighbor (or any other legislatively run non-profits for that matter).
Maybe it has something to do with Corbett's close political alliance with Santorum (PoliticsPA 11/17/2009)
Maybe it is because Santorum and Corbett share the same high level political consultant, John Braebender. His work for Corbett (Capitol Ideas 12/22/2010) and Santorum (Boston Herald 1/4/2012) is a huge part of Braebender's business.
Just more politically-motivated hypocrisy from Corbett.