By John Morgan
The Pennsylvania Progressive, February 21, 2010
Carl Romanelli, the Pennsylvania Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006 will seek legal redress in the courts against Democrats who threw him off the ballot using legislative staffers working on public time and with public resources. I asked Mr. Romanelli whether he and Ralph Nader would go to court following the testimony in the current trial of former Rep.Mike Veon and four legislative staffers. Many who pled guilty in the BonusGate scandal have testified to working on these ballot challenges while working inside the state capitol building and collecting taxpayer funded paychecks. His response:
Thank you for your questions, John. I cannot speak for Ralph, but I plan three different legal steps. The first is to file a victim impact statement with Judge Lewis. The statement is with regard to the guilty pleas entered last month. There are important issues that need to be on the record in this highly complicated matter.
Upon hearing from other witnesses in the Veon, et al trial, I plan to ask the Pennsylvania court for a new hearing in light of the continuing evolution of extraordinary information as to the extent of effort against my rights as a citizen and as a candidate.
Also, I believe a federal civil rights action is appropriate. This filing could be avoided by Casey or his lawyers doing the right thing and withdrawing the punitive action against Larry Otter and me. Since I do not expect such honor from the above mentioned, a federal filing seems likely.
Carl Romanelli filed petitions seeking a place on the ballot for the 2006 Senate election versus Republican Rick Santorum and Democrat Bob Casey Jr. Democrats worried the Green candidate would siphon off liberal voters from Casey, a conservative, anti-choice Democrat from Scranton. They challenged him in court with, as now know, the extensive use of legislative staffers in Harrisburg who were prohibited by law from performing such work with taxpayer resources and while being paid by taxpayers. The testimony provided the past two weeks regarding this has been extensive. Carl Romanelli and his attorney Larry Otter, were assessed with legal fees by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party totaling around $90,000, supposedly for the Democrats’ costs of mounting a successful challenge. Of course we now know the Democrats used public resources and not their own.
The two major political parties in Pennsylvania have made it extremely difficult for third parties to gain the ballot. They must collect petitions from tens of thousands of voters while the major parties need only a comparable few.