Speaker Turzai, Majority Leader Reed and House Republican Leaders Tell Democratic National Committee to Return Pennsylvania’s Money
HARRISBURG – Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and other House Republican leaders have sent the following letter to former Gov. Ed Rendell and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, requesting they return the surplus money from the 2016 national convention held in Philadelphia.

May 18, 2017

Edward G. Rendell, Special Counsel
Ballard Spahr LLP
1735 Market Street, 51st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103-7599

Tom Perez, Chairman
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol Street Southeast
Washington, D.C. 20003

Dear Governor Rendell and Chairman Perez:

Pennsylvania taxpayers want and need our money back.

Governor Rendell’s comment to the Philadelphia Inquirer is not accurate:

“No donor did this out of the kindness of their heart. They all wanted access,” he said. “They got exactly what they donated for. No donor should feel cheated.”

The Commonwealth did not – and does not – want “access.”

At your request and strong urging, as part of the state budget, we included $10 million in state taxpayer funds in support of the 2016 Democratic National Convention being held in Philadelphia.

Fulfilling that request wasn’t easy.

Now we have learned the convention host committee raised enough funds to create a $4 million surplus.

It is obvious you never discussed your plans to use surplus funds with the General Assembly or Governor Wolf. And it is even more concerning the committee never even considered returning money back to state taxpayers.

Did you consult with Mayor Kenney before handing out money?

Did you speak with members of the Philadelphia delegation?

Did you work with Superintendent Hite?

While you should have returned money back to the Commonwealth taxpayers, you chose otherwise.

You held a press conference to announce the donation of funding for nearly 80,000 school books for the School District of Philadelphia. It appears another $700,000 would have enabled the campaign to reach its goal. Recognizing you were arbitrarily giving away money thanks to the assistance of Pennsylvania taxpayers, why not go ahead and fulfill that financial goal?

Or, knowing your interest in the school district, if you had given them the additional $4 million, they could have:
  • Bought 5,194 new iPads; or 

  • Hired 88 new teachers; or

  • Added 140 preK teachers; or 

  • Opened 415 new pre-k seats.

It was your decision to pay your own top staff through March of this year for an event held last July and hand out “bonuses” of nearly $1 million to staff and volunteers. You also chose to hand out unaccountable WAM-like “grants” to local nonprofits, including $75,000 for the “Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.”

Without the $10 million contribution by taxpayers, the surplus would not have existed. You prioritized bonuses and WAMs over the taxpayers of this Commonwealth. It is truly a slap in the face of every Pennsylvanian.

Respectfully, we don’t have the funds to spend frivolously for unaccountable handouts. Please return the money that rightly belongs to state taxpayers. Thank you.

Read a PDF copy of the letter here.

Representative Dave Reed
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Stephen Miskin
717-705-7173 (Office) 717-756-3936 (Cell)
smiskin@pahousegop.com / Twitter: @SAM1963
Twitter: @RepReedPA / RepDaveReed.net / Facebook.com/RepReed

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