What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 9, 2005

An Update on the Santorum/Homestead Exemption Story

Reid Frazier (who, by the way, declined my offer for him to make a comment about my previous posting) of the Tribune-Review has a follow up to his piece from a few days ago.

Read it here.

And there have been a couple of local DfP responses to the usual wingnuttery coming out of the RNC. Read the first one here. And the second here.

DA spokesman, Mike Manko laid out what should happen next:
The prosecutor [Stephen Zappala] announced Friday that he had referred the Santorum case to county manager Jim Flynn. If the administrator finds that Santorum does not live in Penn Hills and is wrongly receiving a $70 annual tax break on his home there, the case could go back to prosecutors for a criminal investigation...
So there you have it. If County Manager Flynn finds that the Senator does not live in Penn Hills and that he's wrongly receiving the tax break (but really, if the Penn Hills residence is not Santorum's primary residence, then how can he be entitled to the tax break?), then the case goes back to Zappala's office.

Frazier added that the DA's office would be looking into whether the Senator provided false information on the tax form. I am guessing this would occur after whatever finding the administrator makes. If the administrator finds that the Senator is entitled to the break, then I can't see how the DA's office can investigate whether the Senator lied on that portion of the tax form. But maybe I'm missing something.

Frazier couldn't reach Flynn for comment.

To which Frazier adds what has to be the goofiest non sequitur in recent memory:
Santorum spokesman Robert Traynham said: "I think this underscores that he is a resident of Penn Hills and that his opponents are trying to use it as a political attack against the senator's family."
Underscores what, exactly? The fact that Frazier couldn't reach County Manager Flynn or the fact that the DA's office referred the case to him? And how exactly does the Senator's family fit into this?

How would an investigation into whether US Senator Rick Santorum provided false information on an official tax form be "a political attack" against his family? Does anyone rational person actually believe the drivel coming out of the Senator's office?

Now that we've waded knee-deep through the usual wingnuttery, let's now bathe in the odiousness of the really strange wingnuttery:
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Nick chastised Democracy for Pittsburgh for allowing solicitations for adult Web sites to appear for weeks in the comments section of its online discussion board.


So there's a group of citizens in Allegheny county (all law-abiding constituents of Senator Santorum's by the way) petitioning their government for a redress of a grievance, and the Senator's insulting response is to smear them with the porn brush.

Luckily, the good folks at DfP have already responded:

Apparently, some Republican groups are claiming that we at Democracy for Pittsburgh are “purveyors of porn” because of the comments with links to porn sites that are occasionally posted on our site.

The porn comments are a form of spam (junk messages) which are posted to increase the number of links to the spammers website, thereby increasing its ranking in search engines like Google.

We obviously do not welcome such messages and do our best to clean them out on a regular basis.

We would like to take this opportunity, however, to remind everybody that Rick Santorum has happily accepted $12,000 in donations from Adelphia Cable, an actual purveyor of porn.

If only we had that kind of money, we would probably have better comment filtering.

So Senator, how many viewings of how many movies does it take to make up 12 grand? That is to say, how many people had to watch porn for you to get your money? Any plans on giving it all back?

How infantile, how ridiculous, and how very typical.


xranger said...

Interesting run you're on here.

But, what constitutes proof of primary residence? Isn't it where you pay your taxes and register to vote?

I'm sure most, if not all, DC pols act like santorum - live in DC area with family, maintain a domicile in their home district for tax and registry purposes.

Jonathan Potts said...

Unfortunately for Santorum, he was first elected to Congress in 1990 for making an issue of the fact that the incumbent, Doug Walgren, lived in Washington and was thus out of touch with his constituents. I thought it was a bogus issue then, though I think there are a fair number of Congress members whose families do continue to live in their home districts.

Ol' Froth said...

You also have to consider the way the homestead exemption is worded. Legal Residence and Primary residence can be two different things. The intent of the exemption is to give you a slight tax break on the home you live in, not just any home you own. For example, say I reside in Beaver, and own rental property in Allegheny. Perhaps I maintain legal residency in Allegheny for voting purposes, but should I be able to take the tax exemption?

The real problem with Santorum is that he made a big issue out of residency when he first ran for congress, as Jonathan pointed out. The irony is, now that he's a senator, he could live in Adams County PA, and have about the same commute to work as he does from Leesburg Virginia.

xranger said...

Well, Froth, here is something we agree upon. I remember Santorum making an issue out it with Walgren, for right or for wrong, and I think he is wrong now.

For a smart guy, he sure is shooting himself in the foot. Remember his compassion in Carnegie during the floods last fall?

With friends like that, the flood victims sure don't need any enemies.