National taxpayer group demands accountability

WASHINGTON–  According to an article in the Patriot-News, Democrats in Pennsylvania are mounting a taxpayer-funded campaign aimed at derailing Gov. Tom Ridge\’s chances of becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee.  While Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) does not endorse any candidate for vice president, or any office, it is appalled at the use of taxpayer funds for political purposes.
The article (March 4th, 2000) reports that the House Democratic Caucus, which is funded by general fund appropriations, paid for direct mail packages costing $3.20 each.  In each package are 90 pages of editorials, news articles and columns critical of Ridge and a statement from the House Minority leader H. William De Weese (D-Greene) and Minority Whip Mike Veon (D-Beaver).  Specifically they allege, "His abysmal lack of leadership should be thoroughly investigated before any pundit decides that our governor should be a heartbeat away from running this great country."  In conclusion they state, "We do not share the view that Tom Ridge is vice presidential material."  They also warn that these mailings are just the beginning, they plan to evaluate its effectiveness based on media inquiries.
"This is illegal and should be prosecuted by the appropriate legal authority," said Damon B. Ansell, vice president for policy at ATR.  "Politicians using taxpayer dollars to send packages to newsrooms around the country attacking people should be expelled from office at the very least," concluded Ansell.
"Democrats continue to harp that this country needs campaign finance reform, while at the same time they violate existing laws and hope nobody notices," said Grover G. Norquist, president of ATR.  "I think they should adhere to current laws before lamenting that we need reform," Norquist added.
ATR has concluded that these two politicians, H. William De Weese (D-Greene) and Minority Whip Mike Veon (D-Beaver) have earned the dubious distinction of winning the monthly "Enemy of the Taxpayer Award."