Friday, February 12, 2016

This is the Senator Calling

State Sen. Jane Orie had staffers pretend to be her on the phone.

This is the Senator Calling


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: See that stuff out of Pittsburgh on the corruption trial of state Sen. Jan Orie and her sister?

BE: You mean the former Senate Whip charged with using her office staff for campaign work for herself and her sister who's a state Supreme Court justice?

JB: That's the one, but it's a third sister who worked for the justice who's on trial with Jane.

BE: Man, that's a whole lotta sisters.

JB: An extended family, according to trial testimony. An Orie aide says she and others were ordered to impersonate the senator on the phone. Here's a piece about it from yesterday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

BE: So they were doing robo calls with staff as the robots.

JB: I'd love to see a call transcript. I'm thinking it would look something like this:

     Office of fat cat donor: Hello, office of fat cat donor.

     Orie staffer: Um, hi. It's, like, you know, Sen. Jane Orie calling for Mr. Moneybags.

     Office of fat cat donor: One second, please.

     Mr. Moneybags: Jane?

     Orie staffer: Hi. I was, like, just, you know, um, calling to ask you for some, like, money.

     Mr. Moneybags: Jane, it doesn't sound like you. Are you OK?

     Orie staffer: Fer sure. It's me. Jane Orie. It really is.

     Mr. Moneybags: Cause you sound like a 25-year receptionist.

     Orie staffer: Oh, yeah, right. As if! ...Anywho, can I have, like, some money?

     Mr. Moneybags: Gee, Jane, you sure you're OK? You seem distracted.

     Orie staffer: Well, I was just reading my Glamour, the lifestyle magazine for a new generation of confident women aged 18 to 34. There's a great piece on a new tool that makes your mascara go on perfectly.

     Mr. Moneybags: Uh. Jane? Your 49. And you really don't sound right to me.

     Orie staffer: OK, well, maybe if you, like, send me a check or something. And one for my sister. Gotta go. Bye.

BE: I guess that's the risk in having somebody impersonate you.

JB: Oh I don't know. A lot of elected officials in Pennsylvania impersonate public servants every day. They seem to get away with it.

BE: That's cold, dude.

JB: Grrrr!


Daily News Political Columnist
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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

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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