By Jim Greenwood and Murray Dickman
Most Pennsylvania Republican State Senators seem hell bent to follow in the unguided footsteps of their brethren in Arizona into Trump lunacy land to perform a so-called “forensic audit” of the 2020 election. The Commonwealth Republican Leadership should reject such a crazy idea.
For many months now, the Harrisburg leadership has responsibly rejected the calls of many of Trump’s followers to perform such a fruitless exercise. The fig leaf for this bizarre exercise is “… to improve our election system going forward.” But the goal is more nefarious.
Its advocates believe the effort would — if the election counts in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan reverse the results of their presidential elections — lead to Donald Trump being declared the winner and reinstated as president.
Earlier attempts by GOP Sen. Doug Mastriano to subpoena the voting machines of five Pennsylvania counties were met with noticeable and deserved scorn from the county elected officials as well as his more serious GOP Senate colleagues. It seemed headed for the proverbial waste bin, and its supporters to the loony bin.
At the same time, the widely lambasted Arizona audit has been widely ridiculed by both parties. And “Mr. My Pillow’s” attempt to “prove the 2020 election was stolen” was a laughing stock.
Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro tempore, Jake Corman, seemed to acknowledge this and was using his leadership position to move on to more serious matters of state. But then, remarkably, something happened to Mr. Corman.
In an interview with a pro-Trump (and largely discredited) radio announcer, the senator changed his position, saying he “heard stories” about fraud including dead people voting. So he took over the leadership of the “forensic investigation” himself, and now wants to proceed ahead immediately, including issuing subpoenas. He also announced he had spoken with Trump himself about the issue.
Until now, Corman has been widely viewed as a serious person and a steady hand. He succeeded his father in his state Senate seat and was widely viewed as a first-class state senator. What happened? It’s clear that Sen. Corman — like many of his legislative colleagues — is capitulating to the pressure of “mob rule.” Other GOP state senators — notably Sen Gene Yaw of Lycoming County and Dan Laughlin of Erie County — have resisted the same pressure and have come out against this fruitless effort very forcefully.
Both of the writers of this letter served with or worked with state Sen. Doyle Corman, the father of the current president pro temp. He was fiercely independent and deeply principled. Sen. Doyle Corman would have known that nothing short of declaring Trump the winner of the 2020 election will satisfy “the mob,” and that is not going to happen.
The current Sen. Corman must also realize that fact, but still he risks embarrassing himself beyond recognition with no hope of satisfying the demands of his tormentors.
If Sen. Corman really wants to improve the integrity of our elections, he should start by removing the commonwealth from the list of only 10 other states that put no limits on how much money political action committees and wealthy individuals can contribute to candidates for the legislature or governor. No forensic audit is needed to unveil the corrupt influence there.
It’s not too late for the Republican Senate leadership to regain its dignity and reputation. Call off this nonsense.
Jim Greenwood of New Hope, Pa., is a Republican who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was also a member of the Pennsylvania state House and Senate. Murray Dickman of Upper St. Clair is the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Administration under Gov. Dick Thornburgh and a member of the GOP leadership committee from 1979-1986.