Friday, April 18, 2014
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The Ole End-Around

A GOP candidate for state attorney general calls the old end-around to hold a fundraiser at PSU game that his campaign says isn't a fundraiser.

The Ole End-Around

David Freed is the Republican-endorsed candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general.
David Freed is the Republican-endorsed candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general.

A candidate for the state’s highest law enforcement office is calling the old end-around to hold a fundraiser his campaign says isn’t a fundraiser at a Penn State game Saturday.

The campaign of David Freed, GOP candidate for attorney general, scheduled a tailgate party before the Penn State/Temple game at State College.

The invitation for the event at two parking spaces the north lot outside Beaver Stadium asks for, under “admission information,” a “suggested contribution” of $500 per couple.

Problem is PSU bans politicking in the stadium or its parking lots. Violators are subject to ejection and/or citation (scroll down to page 7). And PSU assistant athletic director Jeff Nelson tells me in an email, “Political campaign fundraisers (are) not permitted in the lots around the stadium.”

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So why would someone running to be the state’s top cop seemingly violate or at least skirt the policies of the state’s most recognized university?

Well, because he’s using the ole end-around.

His campaign says the event is not a fundraiser, it’s only a tailgate, that no one has to pay for admission, that no money is being collected (the invitation says send checks to a P.O. box in Harrisburg) and that tailgates have been held for politicians (including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) at PSU before.

Freed campaign manager Tim Kelly issued a statement saying, “This Saturday Dave Freed, like thousands of other Penn State and Temple fans, is attending a tailgate at Beaver Stadium.

“This is not a fundraising event. No one attending the tailgate is required to contribute to Dave Freed’s campaign.

“We’re grateful to have enthusiastic supporters ready and willing to help elect Dave, but Saturday’s get-together is not a fundraising event.”

So I guess it’s not a fundraiser, eh?

But wait. The campaign of Freed’s opponent, Democrat Kathleen Kane, also issued a statement: “Dave Freed’s lack of judgment in holding a political fundraiser in violation of Penn State’s rules – particularly at this time – raises serious questions about someone who is asking Pennsylvanians to be the state’s chief law enforcement official.”

So, in this period of NFL replacement refs, you make the call.

Is Freed holding a fundraiser? Is his campaign cleverly avoiding the letter of the law but ignoring the spirit of the law? Or is this much ado about nothing?

Mark me down as calling this the ole end-around. But you decide whether or not to throw the flag.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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