We are the 99%

September 25, 2006

Santorum Corrupt

So says Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Sen. Rick Santorum is a second-term Senator from Pennsylvania. Sen. Santorum’s ethics issues stem from the manner in which he funded his children’s education and his misuse of his legislative position in exchange for contributions to his political action committee and his re-election campaign.
Then they go to work. On the cyberschool thing:
Sen. Santorum lives with his wife and children in Leesburg, Virginia spending, according to the Senator, “maybe a month a year, something like that” in a home he owns in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, but from 2001 to 2005, five of Sen. Santorum’s six children attended a Pennsylvania cyber charter school in Penn Hills, PA, at an estimated cost to local taxpayers of $72,000. In December 2004, the superintendent of the school district sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education questioning why the school district had to pay for Sen. Santorum’s children’s education. Although the Penn Hills school district initially lost its bid to recover tuition, the Pennsylvania Department of Education agreed to settle the matter in September 2006, by offering the district $55,000.

The fact that Sen. Santorum ignored the Penn Hills school district’s residency requirements and enrolled his children in a cyber school in Pennsylvania at a time when the children clearly resided in Virginia -- at significant cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers -- demonstrates a level of dishonesty that brings the reputation and integrity of the Senate into question. As a result, the Select Committee on Ethics should investigate this matter.
And the loan for his primary (which is what it is) house in Virginia:
In 2002, Sen. Santorum and his wife received a $500,000 five-year mortgage for their Leesburg, Virginia home from a small, private Philadelphia bank, The Philadelphia Trust Company, that makes loans only to the bank’s own affluent investors. Sen. Santorum’s taking the loan violates Senate gift rules, which prohibit Senate employees from accepting loans not available to the general public.
The entire report on Rick Santorum can be found here.

I did find some interesting tidbits in the footnotes. Rick has admitted that he spends most of his time out of the state of Pennsylvania (see above), but as recently as December, 2004 he said it was "absurd" not to consider him a resident of Penn Hills. Take a look:
Santorum said yesterday that he intends to register the children for home schooling in Penn Hills, where he considers himself a resident.

Santorum said it was "absurd" to conclude he doesn't reside there and that the controversy is politically motivated. [emphasis added]
Go read the report - the section on the mortage of his house in Virginia is very interesting indeed. I'll just go through the highlights:
In 2002, Sen. Santorum and his wife received a $500,000 five-year mortgage for their Leesburg, Virginia home from a small, private Philadelphia bank, The Philadelphia Trust Company (“Philadelphia Trust”), that makes loans only to affluent investors. Philadelphia Trust advertises itself as an independent private bank for investors who have liquid assets of at least $250,000. The bank’s web site states that “banking services are available only to investment advisory clients whose portfolios we manage, oversee or administer.” The bank confirmed to the Philadelphia Daily News that it offers mortgages only to investors and not to the general public.
The rule in question:
Rule 35, paragraph 1(a)(1) of the Senate Code of Official Conduct states that “No
Member, officer or employee of the Senate shall knowingly accept a gift except as
provided in this rule.” The Ethics Manual defines “gift” to mean “any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forebearance, or other item having monetary value. The term includes gifts of services, training, transportation, lodging and meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.”

Rule 35, paragraph 1(c)(19)(E) allows Members, officers, and employees to
accept opportunities and benefits that are available to a wide group, specifically
providing that they may accept “loans from banks and other financial institutions on
terms generally available to the public.”
They then go on to show that Rick didn't meet the criteria for getting the loan from that private bank and they point out that it wasn't generally available to the public etc.

He violated rule 35.

Rick Santorum - Ethics Rule violator.

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