Candidates will be competing this fall for a statewide office in Pennsylvania badly tainted by corruption, and it isn’t the attorney general’s office. I’m talking about the office of Pennsylvania Treasurer, who’s last elected occupant, Rob McCord, pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
In fact, three of the last five elected Pennsylvania treasurers have faced corruption charges. So you might say integrity is an issue here.
The Republican candidate is Berks County businessman and Army veteran Otto Voit. He’s 58, a successful guy, who served 17 years on his local school board. He told me he decided to run for a larger office when he was yelling at the TV screen once, and his wife told him to get up and do something about his complaints.
He’s a true conservative, a believer in lower taxes, less regulation, going hard after American’s enemies, and Donald Trump. He says he’ll bring integrity to the treasurers’ office and transparency to the rest of state government by publishing all the state’s financial data on the department’s website — bids, contracts, salaries, the works. And then, he says he’ll do the same with county records, then township data, and so on.
He says his opponent, Philly area Democrat Joe Torsella can’t be trusted to reform the office because he’s from the party that brought us McCord and other miscreants.”If you have someone who’s part of that same machine that gave us that corruption,” Voit said, “then you can expect the same result.”
Not this JoeTorsella says he’s not part of any machine, and he has a record that fits the challenge of the office. He served as deputy mayor under Ed Rendell, president of the National Constitution Center, then Ambassador for Management Reform at the United Nations.
“I’ve not been a part of any of this [corruption],” Torsella said, “but more than that, I have been a part of bringing real results, real reform, and real accountability to government institutions, and I’ve done it in places and it ways that have won bi-partisan praise.”
As an example, he cited the support of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his candidacy.
Torsella has been raising money since 2014, and raised more than $2.2 million. That includes a $55,000 loan to the campaign from himself. Voit has raised $584,000 but more than $500,000 is from Voit and his brother-in-law, Jeffrey Kissling of York. They built and sold a software business together years ago.
Torsella had about $1.5 million on hand as of the last reporting deadline in May. Voit had $140,000. Voit said he’ll have the resources he needs to be competitive in the race.