A county prosecutor on Friday blasted a Republican gubernatorial candidate from Pennsylvania’s request for a criminal investigation into his rival Doug Mastriano, calling the idea “frivolous” and “shameful.”
Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal said there was no evidence Mastriano committed perjury in campaign finance reports he submitted this month — despite suggestions from Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jake Corman’s campaign.
“This is a political stunt and I have a bigger job to do for the citizens of Franklin County,” Fogal said in a statement late Friday. “Even a negligent attempt to politically weaponize a district attorney is dangerous and that is what happened in this case. so many others in our civic discourse right now.
Fogal’s remarks came two days after Corman’s campaign attorney wrote a letter asking the district attorney to investigate Mastriano’s campaign for possible violations of state law. The letter noted that Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County in the state’s south-central state, failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions and expenses in a year-end filing. which was to be filed on January 31.
Mastriano filed an amended report last week showing he raised about $1 million last year, three times more than he originally disclosed. The report says he spent $215,000 in 2021, about 15 times the amount he first reported. Mastriano filed the report hours after The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the omission of basic campaign expenses.
Mastriano’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Dave La Torre, a spokesman for Corman, said voters “deserve to know that their gubernatorial candidates are transparent and uphold the law.”
“There is a very clear campaign finance violation here, and we have followed the law to report it to the appropriate authorities,” he said. “Everyone in this race abides by our campaign finance laws, except for one candidate.”
Wednesday’s letter from Corman’s campaign attorney Zachary Wallen alleged that Mastriano “may have committed gross and willful violations” of state law by “submitting a grossly flawed and incomplete campaign finance report.” “.
The Corman campaign also sent the letter to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is also running for governor.
But Fogal said Friday that the revisions did not constitute perjury, as Wallen had suggested.
“That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences,” he said. “Ordinarily, such conduct would be appropriately dealt with in our free press, which it is, and potential voters could exercise their critical thinking as to whether such conduct inspires confidence in a candidate’s aptitude. .”