by Scott Shields, Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 06:12:21 AM EST
Living "paycheck to paycheck" with "a check every now and then" from his parents. Wow. Life sure must be rough for Senator Rick Santorum. I can picture it now -- Santorum picking up clothes for his kids at the Goodwill, Santorum buying no-brand bulk groceries at Sam's Club, Santorum at the kitchen table late at night, trying to figure out how to make ends meet, and so on. He's like a modern-day Bob Cratchit.
That's what you might think, but no. Rick Santorum did what every struggling American worker ought to do -- he started a PAC! Even if it's not illegal, it's pretty tasteless. And as Ulysses1 has diaried, Will Bunch, writing in The American Prospect has the scoop.
What we found is that Santorum's exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren't available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania -- namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia. Although a Santorum aide defends those charges as legitimate political costs, good-government experts say the expenditures are at best unconventional, and at worst a possible violation of Senate rules, and the purchases appear to be unorthodox when compared with other senators' filings. Santorum's PAC -- a "leadership PAC," whose purpose is to dispense money to other Republican candidates -- used just 18.1 percent of its money to that end over a recent five-year period, a lower number than other leadership PACs of top senators from both parties.
Oh, is that all? Well, no. It gets far sleazier. Take, for example, Santorum's mortgage. The company that holds the mortgage, Philadelphia Trust, isn't your average lender. It seems pretty clear that they aren't extending lines of credit to most families living "paycheck to paycheck."