by DJ Francis, Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 10:55:40 AM EST
Hey everyone. I wanted to share some news with you all that's breaking today. Will Bunch has an article in the March edition of The American Prospect about Senator Rick Santorum's finances, both personal and political. GOP leaders have appointed Santorum as their Senate point man on ethics reform, but this article raises some serious questions about the way he conducts Pennsylvanians' business.
For instance, Santorum secured a mortgage refinancing in 2002 from a private Philadelphia bank on his $757,000 Leesburg, Virginia McMansion. The bank says it offers mortgages only to its clients, who must have investment assets of $250,000. On his disclosure form covering the period when he got the refinancing, Santorum listed less than $140,000 in total assets. And directors and officers of the bank have donated $24,000 to his campaign.
You can read the full article here: Santorum's Jackpot. And the sidebar (about the charity) is here: Sour Charity. And feel free to recommend this post only if you think other folks should see this info.
There are some bullet points after the jump...
In addition to the mortgage, his leadership PAC has some unusual expenditures. It has paid for dozens of trips to stores and shops near his Leesburg home--Starbucks, Arby's, Ben & Jerry's a local pizza parlor, Wal-Mart, Target, a Giant supermarket. The PAC's purpose is to dole out money to other candidates, but only 18% of its funds are being used this way. Then there's the charity he set up in Philadelphia that has spent only 34 percent of its donations on grant-giving--less than half the industry standard--and that failed to register with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State's office, as required by law.
- An unorthodox mortgage, refinanced by a private Philadelphia bank that says it caters only to affluent clients with investment assets exceeding $250,000. But on his 2002 disclosure form--covering the year in which he received the refinancing--Santorum lists assets of no greater than $140,000. And in 2005, he told The New York Times Magazine that he and his family lived "paycheck to paycheck." The mortgage, worth $500,000 and payable in full in 2007, is for the Santorums' rambling brick McMansion in Loudoun County, Virginia (last assessed at $757,000.) The bank's executives and directors, which include some well-known conservatives, have donated $24,000 to his leadership PAC and campaigns.
- Questionable expenses from his so-called leadership PAC, America's Foundation, including numerous small expenditures near his home in Leesburg--at the local Starbucks, a pizza parlor, a Chinese restaurant, Arby's, Ben & Jerry's, Target, Wal-Mart, a Giant supermarket, and more. The PAC--whose purpose is to help the Senate's 3rd-highest ranking Republican dispense money to other Republican candidates--paid for some 66 trips to Starbucks alone since 2001. Santorum's leadership PAC has no office near Leesburg--it's in Pennsylvania--and comparisons to other politicians' leadership PACs show that Santorum spent far more on these items than they did. Meanwhile, America's Foundation has raked in more than $5.3 million, but donated just 18.1 percent of it to other candidates or political committees--the lowest of five other leadership PACs we reviewed.
- Unusual practices at the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation, a charitable organization Santorum set up after the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. The foundation has taken in nearly $1 million from contributors, but spent just 36 percent of it on grants intended to combat poverty and other social ills--its stated purpose. The industry standard for grant-giving is at least 75 percent, say experts who question why 57 percent of Santorum's outlays cover things such as salaries and fund-raising commissions. In addition, the organization has never registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State's office, as required by law.