Metcalfe goes after anti-Corbett group

Published by Kate Giammarise on .

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, says he will convene a House State Government Committee hearing next month to see if a group running ads attacking Gov. Tom Corbett is violating state elections law by not disclosing its contributors.
"Based on their activity, they've certainly been working to try to influence the outcome of an election...I think it's clear in the law, that if somebody is going to make expenditures and try to influence the outcome of an election, as they have done, then they need to report that," he said, speaking to a group of reporters in the capitol newsroom Thursday afternoon.
Pennsylvanians for Accountability, the group running the ads, doesn't name its officers, conceals its funders, and uses a mail drop as an address, non-profit reporting web site Public Source reported last week.
Mr. Metcalfe said the hearing, which he hopes will feature testimony from the Department of State and Attorney General, was prompted by news stories about Pennsylvanians for Accountability, though he said his interest in the issue was not motivated by partisanship.
"Our interest is to insure integrity in the election process ... This is the only group that I'm aware of right now in Pennsylvania that's doing something like this," he said.
Such groups have also donated to Republicans, albeit at the federal level. Millions in funding from so-called "dark money" groups went to ads attacking Democratic Congressman Mark Critz, the opponent of U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus, as Early Returns wrote about last year.
Gov. Corbett also benefited in 2010 from a $1.5 million "untraceable" donation, which The Center for Public Integrity documented here.
Mr. Metcalfe said his hearing only would apply to groups advertising about state elections, not federal. The hearing is scheduled for June 5.
However, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State said Pennsylvanians for Accountability is apparently acting within the bounds of the law.
"As we see it, the law says that in order to be regulated as a political action committee, you have to be expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate. They're not doing that," said Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Department of State, as the group doesn't use words like "vote for," "support" or "defeat."

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