Al Schmidt, the Republican candidate for City Controller in 2009 and recently a senior adviser to the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, this morning released a stack of faxes and e-mails that he said demonstrates a "culture of corruption" among Democrats and Republicans in Philadelphia using public resources for partisan political purposes. Schmidt made his revelation while announcing that he will seek a seat on the Philadelphia City Commission in next May's primary election.
"The fact that they don't think its a big deal is what the big deal is," Schmidt said, flipping through copies of the documents blown up to poster size. "It's so pervasive."
Schmidt said the documents show that local elected officials -- city, state and federal -- use their offices to coordinate election day workers such as poll watchers and judges of elections. Based on the header information printed at the top of faxes, the documents came from U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's office along with the offices of state House representatives, City Council members and City Commission members.
One of the requests for Republican poll watcher certificates was faxed for Schmidt's 2009 run for Controller. Schmidt explained that candidates sign waivers to allow people to seek certificates for them.
Schmidt said he gathered the documents using public records requests and had them compiled before what he called a "train wreck" was made public this week about the City Commission. The Philadelphia Board of Ethics announced that former Deputy City Commissioner Renee Tartaglione Matos retired last month after she was confronted with evidence that she had violated the City Charter ban on political activity by city employees. Her mother, Commission Chairwoman Marge Tartaglione, repeatedly said "It's over" yesterday when asked about the retirement and then threatened to punch a reporter who asked about it.