Pennsylvania governor returns money from fugitive 'friend'
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell blames 'media feeding frenzy' for forcing him to return $40,000 in campaign contributions.
Gov. Ed Rendell, one of several high-profile Democrats who accepted campaign donations from a California fugitive, has finally agreed to give the money back. Sorta. Rendell announced today that the "media feeding frenzy" surrounding Norman Hsu has prompted him to donate $40,0000 of Hsu’s dirty money to charity.
Better late than never, Ed. Regardless of the so-called "media frenzy," over Hsu's copious donations to Democrats, giving the money away was the right thing to do.
Even Hillary Clinton, who has been involved in one financial scandal after another, agreed to sever her ties with Hsu and give back $23,000 last week.
Rendell initially refused, but got hammered by Pennsylvania newspapers and bloggers. Even the official Ed Rendell Party Organ, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published a front page article about Rendell keeping the dirty money.
The governor's people issued the following statement today:
After learning that Norman Hsu failed to appear in a California court on 15-year-old fraud allegations, Gov. Rendell today said that he is disappointed in Hsu's actions and that he will donate Hsu's campaign contributions to charity.
"Though Norman is my friend, and remains so, his failure to appear casts a new light on his assertions regarding the original case," Gov. Rendell said. "As a result, I will follow other elected officials and donate the money he contributed to me to charity.
"It was never about the money," the governor said. "It's about standing up for one of the principles of our judicial system -- that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
"The media feeding frenzy around Norman is likely to continue, but I intend to focus now on the tremendous amount of work we have to complete in Harrisburg this fall for the people of Pennsylvania."
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas