Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

GOP turns the spotlight on Sen. Bob Casey’s family ties in key Pennsylvania race

By 37ci3 Jul5,2024

Bob Casey Jr reform wave Along with other Democrats who vowed to end the 2006 US Senate elections scandal and a culture of self-control in Washington, DC

A fixture of Pennsylvania politics, whose late father served as Governor Casey announced his ethical plan at a restaurant formerly owned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He then boiled over an ad His Republican opponent questioned his integrity.

Nearly two decades later, Casey faces an uphill battle for a fourth term, along with accusations that his friends and family benefited from his political career. In a family with a brand name in Pennsylvania politics, several Casey siblings have seen their politics-adjacent careers intersect with that of a senator.

Right after Casey, there’s a brother who signed up to lobby for a semiconductor manufacturer supported the bill expand opportunities for industry. Another brother, a law partner, helped Casey recommend federal judges, and employees of the firm donated more than $225,000 to Casey’s campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission filings. And records show there is a sister who received half a million dollars worth of work from Casey’s campaigns.

Casey, 64, is not accused of breaking any laws or violating ethics rules. But GOP operatives working to unseat him in one of the nation’s top Senate races this year are drawing attention to those and other family ties. The National Republican Senatorial Committee also compared Casey to President Joe Biden, whose family members have been accused of trading on famous surnames.

“It’s called the Casey Cartel,” said the narrator an advertisement From NRSC. “Because, like Biden, Bob Casey gets elected and his family gets richer.”

The senator’s defenders point to his longstanding commitment to ethics reform, including a crusade against influence peddling and revolving door practices involving members of Congress, their staff and Washington’s K Street lobbying firms. Elements plan Casey pushed as a candidate in 2006 draft law Act signed the law by then-President George W. Bush.

Casey too expressed his support eight years ago for former President Donald Trump to take a step to “drain the swamp.” a five-year lobbying ban about former executive power officials.

In a written comment for this article, Casey campaign manager Tiernan Donohue characterized the GOP messaging as “baseless attacks” and a “clear attempt to distract” from potential commitments to Republican challenger Dave McCormick. Donohue noted past media check McCormick’s campaign finance practices, as well as Bridgewater Associates’ investments in Chinese companies during McCormick’s time manages a hedge fund. McCormick admitted to working at a hedge fund campaigns for proposals For tighter restrictions on US investment in China.

“Senator Bob Casey is recognized throughout the Commonwealth for his commitment to high ethical standards and quality public service,” Donohue said.

The GOP’s prosecution of Casey mirrors the playbook the party has used this year against other vulnerable Democrats with partisan control of the Senate.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana is facing a challenge from a former aerospace executive Tim Sheehythere is take control because of their dealings with lobbyists. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is running against businessman Bernie Moreno in Ohio. HuffPost faced questions in its story about his pro-labor record pitches this year with support for a merger involving the Kroger grocery chain. Democrats, meanwhile, have painted McCormick and other GOP Senate candidates as wealthy elitists with unscrupulous business practices from Sheehy’s. work in aerial fire fighting To Moreno days as a car salesman.

“Bob Casey and his family have demonstrated a pattern of corruption that will outrage Pennsylvanians,” said NRSC spokesman Philip Letsou. “Pennsylvanians are struggling to get by, but career politician Bob Casey’s top priority seems to be enriching his family.”

Casey won’t be easy to beat this fall. He won each of his three Senate terms by comfortable margins and was respected across the aisle. McCormick, meanwhile, has been criticized For the time he spent in a rental house in Connecticut.

“I’m a true Keystone State guy. I know the Casey family and the pride of the Casey family in this state is tremendous,” said Scott Hoeflich, who served as chief of staff to the late Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a former Republican who became a Democrat while serving with him. Casey said in an interview. “Bob Casey Jr. is a great guy. … He has always been an outstanding public servant with the highest standards of integrity.”

Several of the Casey family ties, which have been scrutinized by Republicans, have been covered by other news organizations in recent years. And some relationships seem more casual or more arm’s length than others. None of the family members named in this article responded to a request for comment.

Casey’s brother-in-law, Patrick Brier, is registered as a state lobbyist for the 2022 audited company Keystone First. Casey called for a federal investigation of Medicaid managed care providers as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Aging Committee. It was a connection first reported by Broad + Liberty, a right-leaning Pennsylvania outlet. There is no record of Brier lobbying for the company at the federal level. The audit reportBrier was released six months after she began lobbying for the company, criticizing Keystone First and finding the company “not in compliance with Federal and State requirements” while denying dozens of requests for care or services.

One of Casey’s brothers, Patrick Casey, has registered to lobby the Senate on behalf of the semiconductor company in late 2022. The first information about this was published by Politico. His disclosure statement noted that his work focused on US semiconductor policy and the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act passed earlier that year. Patrick Casey firm in January informed he no longer lobbied for the client.

“Pat Casey does not lobby Senator Casey’s office,” Casey spokeswoman Mairead Lynn said in an emailed statement. “Senator Casey supported and voted for the 2007 law banning family members from lobbying Senate offices, and he is following that law.”

Away from the lobbying scene, Casey’s state and federal campaigns have run Universal Printing Co., a Scranton-area print shop run by the senator’s sister, Margie McGrath, who has identified herself as the company’s representative. spent about 600,000 dollars. CEO and business owner, according to FEC filings. McGrath and her husband, William, a Universal executive, have donated more than $50,000 to Casey’s campaigns and related PACs over the years, records show. The The New York Post first reported it About Casey using her sister as a campaign salesperson last year.

Casey, who served as state auditor general and treasurer before being elected to the Senate and losing a 2002 gubernatorial primary, paid Universal more than $255,000 to work on those campaigns, according to state filings. Records show that $325,000 from his Senate fund paid for about a third of his campaign’s printing costs and about 15% of Universal’s $2.1 million in federal campaign work since 2005 at his sister’s firm. Universal’s list of political clients includes the Democratic National Committee and several presidential campaigns.

Hiring a relative for campaign services is legal as long as the campaign pays fair market value for the services, said Kedric Payne, vice president, general counsel and chief ethics officer of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan voter advocacy group.

“In this situation, it would be difficult to argue that there was a violation if there was someone who appeared to be providing legitimate services to that member, but who didn’t have other customers who were just providing those services,” Payne said. He saw no legal threat to the other issues Republicans have brought against Casey.

Casey also has close political ties to Ross Feller Casey, the personal injury law firm founded by his brother Matt Casey. Employees of the firm have contributed more than $225,000 to Casey’s campaigns since 2005, according to campaign finance filings. The first information about this was published by the New York Post newspaper. The firm also contributed $100,000 to PA Values, a super PAC supporting Casey’s 2017 re-election campaign. The firm has not donated to the super PAC since then, which remains active. recently produced an ad is deceptively using former President Donald Trump’s words to block mail-in voting.

Senator Casey Ross Feller called Robert Ross, one of Casey’s other founding partners. often over the years lead committees vetting candidates for federal judicial nominations, according to reports from his office. Senators from the current president’s party usually they have the most influence when recommending candidates. During the Obama administration, Casey continued the tradition of running the bipartisan vetting process established under his Republican predecessors, which allowed his GOP colleagues to pick members of the vetting committee.

Ross did not respond to questions for this article.

Defenders of the process, including Republicans, argue that it produces quality judges. Former Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican after Specter spoke loudly The work they did together with Casey.

“The bipartisan, nonpartisan nominating committee has been and remains the gold standard for how senators vet and nominate nominees to the U.S. courts,” Hoeflich, a former Specter aide, said when asked about GOP attacks on the process. “This is politics at its worst – trying to manipulate data to create false narratives and distract people from the real issues.”

Others offered different views. A source familiar with Toomey’s role in the process recalled that it was skewed more in Casey’s favor during the Obama years, arguing that Toomey’s picks for selection panels had more serious violations, while a former Toomey staffer remembered Casey’s work better. . . Both requested anonymity to share their thoughts.

“We were proud of the process,” said a second source. “I think when you look at all the umpires, it shows that we were able to fill in quite a bit on time and they were all of a high standard.”

A former top aide to former Sen. Rick Santorum, the Republican from whom Casey was ousted in 2006, said GOP operatives were “begging a lot for nothing” with their attacks.

“I have never, ever questioned the ethics of Bob Casey, even when he was our opponent in the ’06 election,” said the staffer, who requested anonymity to share his candid views on GOP messaging. “I never saw the Caseys as anything but standing people.”

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