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Rapp said she believes the pay raise "fiasco" has played a part in the political vibes going through the capitol, but kicking out a majority of the lawmakers "would be a huge mistake."

"There are people that are truly here to serve their districts and constituents. People that are trying to do the right thing and cast the right votes."

Rapp said she is particularly disturbed by a comment from PA CleanSweep founder and chairman Russ Diamond, who was quoted as saying voters should cast their ballot for the challengers even if they are a "thief, a crook or a liar."

"I have grave concerns when people are willing to endorse just anybody," Rapp said. "There are a group of us here looking at reform and how we can clean up the capitol and ourselves."...

Published: December 11, 2005 10:47 pm         

Group attempts to have a challenger for every incumbent in next year’s election  By Jane Smith

12/12/05 WATERFORD — Wearing blue jeans, a dark flannel shirt over a black turtleneck sweater, Russ Diamond paced the floor of the Libertarian Headquarters here for more than 90 minutes to get his message across: “Vote ’Em All Out.”

The “Em” he was referring to are the state legislators and all government officials.

Diamond, 42-year-old computer business owner from Lebanon County, urged the approximately 50 persons in attendance to get involved now and line up a candidate to run against every incumbent as a protest against last July’s pay raise.

Diamond, who said he is a conservative Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Congress and the state House as a Libertarian last year, according to an Inter-net site. He said he ran at the urging of people in his district.

Touting the success of his organization in making history by defeating Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro for retention in the Nov. 8 election, Diamond said it was because of the Internet. Legislators, he said, “had no clue the role it would play,” citing the thousands of people that can be contacted now that did not have access 10 years ago.

Despite the fact the Legisla-ture has repealed the pay raise, Diamond said, “That is not good enough for me,” saying there is nothing to prevent the Legisla-ture from repeating the measure.

“It’s a matter of trust,” he said, noting if the Legislature did that “in the middle of the night when nobody was looking, what else are they doing?”

Diamond said he got involved after talking with his nephew, who was furious that one state senator received a $34,000 pay raise when his nephew was operating a pizza shop seven days a week and not making $34,000 a year.

At the same time, Diamond said the Legislature is not doing its job. While it talks about property tax reform, Diamond said that is just a symptom of the problem. He said Legislature has not addressed the “broken education, health care, poor economy and poor business climate in Pennsylvania.”

Instead of addressing those problems, Diamond said legislators are involved in the “Incum-bent Protection Program” and worry more about being re-elected than solving the state’s problems.

Although it was snowing outside and cold, Diamond said now is the time to recruit candidates for the May primary. Noting nominating petitions must be filed by March 7, he said they can be circulated for signatures beginning Feb. 14, meaning candidates should be ready to go by the end of January. “That’s only six weeks away,” he said.

Those running for the House of Representatives need 300 signatures; for the Senate, 500.

“Why are you not running for office?” he asked the audience. “What is holding you back?”

“Money,” was one reply. “Education,” was the second.

Money should not be a major factor, he said, noting the Republicans spent $1.5 million to help keep two Supreme Court justices on the bench. “We spent nothing and we made history,” he said, referring to Nigro’s defeat.

“You don’t need a lot of money to speak about great ideas,” he said. “They (the Republi-cans) spent millions of dollars to support a bad idea.”

He said what is needed is a $100 filing fee and “time. The most important thing you do,” he said, is spending time campaigning, noting it takes a lot of “shoe leather.”

He said education is not a criteria for election. Requirements for a state representative are that the candidate must be 21 years of age, have lived in Pennsylva-nia for four years, in a specific district for one year, and pay the filing fee. “That’s it,” he said. He asks that candidates asking for his organization’s help be able to “read the constitution and know the difference between right and wrong.”

“We have 74 candidates so far; we need a lot more,” he said of the 2006 elections where all 203 state House seats and 25 state Senate seats will be up for grabs. He also wants to defeat the governor and all incumbent office holders, saying they all deserve to be taken out of office. He wants an opponent on every ballot.

“I can’t do it alone,” he said as he urged people to get involved and work together. He said it would be better to have only one candidate on a ballot opposing an incumbent, noting if there are more than one, they split the votes and the incumbent will be nominated again.

Responding to questions about philosophies about candidates, Diamond said that is not the concern of Clean Sweep. He said if one starts worrying about philosophy and policy, it will divide the efforts.

Instead, he said, elect anyone who runs against an incumbent, regardless of their philosophies. He said no matter if the person is a “thief, a crook or a liar,” to vote for them, noting they can be defeated in two years. The important thing for 2006 is to vote out all the incumbents, he said, noting it’s time to make Penn-sylvania a better state and a great asset.

Jane Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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Story Comments

Operation CLEAN SWEEP; there's a nice ring to it and this guy Mr. Diamond deserves lots of credit and support. I'll vote against all my local incumbents and any other member of that good ol boy network in Harrisburg.

This kind of thinking could clear out the rubbish currently in office. I add my voice to "Vote 'em out!"
Political Activist

get them out!!!!!!!!!!

Every last one of them. You have my vote!

i agree. they're all scum

It certainly would make government interesting again. But where would the PAC monies go? What would lobbyists do with the new folks that came in? Where would the candidates comes from? How would they get campaign funding? Good luck - the old boy's (and girl's) network will produce new candidates just like it did the old ones. I'm cynical enough to believe there's no new blood anymore.

Not one person who has commented has expressed concern that Mr Diamond said we should even elect liars &/or criminals. Not only that, but he is suggesting education is not important. While it is not a requirement (nor do I think it should be) to run for the office of representative or senator, education is important and should be a signficiant factor in voters' decisions for whom to vote. Please don't be so blind people. And don't vote against someone simply because he/she is an incumbent.

We need a plan to get all third parties together to get the do nothing, get me re-elected partisan Democrats & Republicans out of office

Ms. Smith took my comments out of context in this article. In the Q & A portion of the PACleanSweep meetup on Decenber 11, 2005 in Waterford, someone asked, "What if the new people we put in turn out to be thieves, crooks and liars just like the ones we have now?" My answer was, "Yes, that's certainly a possibility, but it doesn't matter because we can just as easily CleanSweep them in another two years as well." Ms. Smith's interpretation insinuates that I advocate knowingly electing scofflaws. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Russ Diamond


Challengers vow 'clean sweep'
2 local candidates join effort

They are among 81 challengers supported by PACleanSweep, which announced its initial slate of candidates Monday at a Capitol rally. The group claims the raises, which were approved in July and repealed in November, show why the Legislature needs new faces. Rock said the pay raise "provided the opening" for his candidacy, but

there's more to his bid. He also wants term limits and criticized Fleagle, who was first elected in 1988, for being in the House too long.

"I think 2006 will go down as a turning point in Pennsylvania politics," Rock said.

Fleagle said his experience puts him in line for a committee chairmanship that would help the district. Arguing that veteran lawmakers should go is "like telling an older person in a company that they're not pulling their weight and should retire because they have experience," Fleagle said.

Fleagle also lashed out at PACleanSweep. He provided excerpts of a Dec. 12 article in the Meadville Tribune that quoted founder Russ Diamond as saying people should vote for "a thief, a crook or a liar" rather than an incumbent.

"I think we're going to find out that a lot of the people associated with that CleanSweep organization don't have the credentials they say they do, and I just don't think that's an organization you'd want to associate with," Fleagle said.

Fleagle voted for the raise in July and accepted it early through a loophole called "unvouchered expenses," but he chose to pay back the unvouchered expenses after the repeal.

Maitland voted for the raises and accepted four months of unvouchered expenses without paying them back.

Henry, who lost to Maitland two years ago, said he sought PACleanSweep's support because he agrees with its platform. That includes voter referendums to approve future pay raises and a 10-day cooling-off period to approve any legislation.

Henry said he wants to "bring integrity back to state government. It's something that's sorely missed here."

Maitland had little reaction to PACleanSweep's backing of Henry, saying he'll focus on the Republican nomination before turning his attention to the Democrats.

Henry will have to fend off another Democrat before he gets the chance to take on Maitland, because Patrick Naugle of Adams County has also announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination. The district includes Quincy and Guilford townships in Franklin County, as well as portions of Adams County.

Two local legislative candidates will run with the support of an anti-incumbent movement that grew out of last year's controversial pay raises.

Republican Todd Rock of Mont Alto is challenging Rep. Pat Fleagle, R-Waynesboro, in the GOP primary, while Democrat Alan Henry of Arendtsville wants his party's nod to challenge Rep. Stephen Maitland, R-Gettysburg.




Could the people of Fayette County be so desperate for representation in Harrisburg that they would actually vote for a convicted felon to represent them? Just how desperate do you have to be to elect someone convicted of fraud and theft to be your personal representative in Harrisburg?

Why can't we elect someone with integrity, with legislative experience at local and/or county levels, someone who has experience working with others to bring to Fayette County the things we need to improve our economic status, someone who - once elected - could hit the ground running in Harrisburg?
If we elect a convicted felon, we will be the laughingstock of Harrisburg and no one with an ounce of honesty and integrity will deal with us...

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