Think tank's shoot-em-up fundraiser draws fire

A conservative group's shoot-em-up fundraising event is setting off fireworks across the political landscape - and has some candidates running for the hills.

The Commonwealth Foundation is offering attendees at its May 8 "LiveFreePA" fundraiser and candidates' forum the chance to "fire a few rounds into a beat up car bearing anti-freedom messages and icons."

On Tuesday, as first reported by,  foundation president Matt Brouillette wrote in an e-mail sent to media and foundation supporters: “… I hope you'll join us May 8th to pump a few rounds (or fire a cannon...) into a beat-up truck bearing anti-freedom policy ideas like "ObamaCare," "Card Check," "Cap and Trade," and other failed, wealth-redistributionist ideas.”

Apparently Democratic gubernatorial Jack Wagner, who is listed on the Foundation's web site as a confirmed guest, suddenly had scheduling problems and backed out. Now, even Republican state committee-endorsed lieutenant governor candidate Jim Cawley, it appears is having second thoughts. He told Capitolwire he would have to "take a look" at the activities before commenting. 

The GOP candidates for U.S. Senate (former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik) and governor (Attorney General Tom Corbett and House Rep. Sam Rohrer) are on the attendees list.

Also invited was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel. Upon hearing of the truck shoot, Hoeffel told Capitolwire: “These right-wingers have trouble talking straight, so I hope for safety’s sake, they can shoot straight.”

Hoeffel, who said he would not attend, added, the event "certainly reflects the coarseness of political debate these days. They obviously think it’s fun, so I am tempted to respond with humor, but in all seriousness, it just does reflect their lack of respect for opposing points of view.”

After learning of Hoeffel's response, Brouillette sent out another blast e-mail to drum up attendance and accused Hoeffel of not having a sense of humor.

“You know what? If I were a nanny-stater, I wouldn't show up either," Brouillette wrote. "And I sure wouldn't want you to come, have a good time, and show these politicians what gun safety and a sense of humor look like, and be encouraged to keep fighting for freedom."

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