Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Baker's Response to BRF Article Dubious at Best
R. Saunder's Responds to Baker's Response to Blue Ribbon Foundation Article
Yesterday we posted an article by R. Saunders about Lisa Baker and the Blue Ribbon Foundation. The article, which has even caused a number of Baker supporters we know to change their opinion on her, has received rave reviews. Baker's response on the other hand has been factually disputed by R. Saunders.
Lisa Baker's dispute with the conclusions of yesterday's published article was as predictable as this morning's sunrise. But she did not and could not dispute the facts upon which those conclusions are based. John Adams once told us that facts are stubborn things. Whatever may be the wishes or inclinations of Lisa Baker, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
Baker says she was given her position with Blue Cross in April of 2002, and she would like us to believe that this was "well before Governor Schweiker made known his decision not to seek reelection." Facts are stubborn things, and factually this is not true.
In fact, Schweiker announced eighteen months prior to Baker's departure that he would not run for Governor in 2002. In an article titled "Schweiker Says 'No' to Run for Governor" published on October 5, 2000 in the Harrisburg Patriot News, Schweiker announced, surprisingly enough, that he would not run for governor. He cited concerns the pressure of a race would have on his family.
Subsequent events, particularly Schweiker's promotion to governor in 2001, did change the picture a bit. But subsequent events did not change Schweiker's mind. Had Schweiker been contemplating a run for Governor in April of 2002, as Baker suggests, chances are he would have submitted nominating petitions before the March 12, 2002 filing deadline -- which he did not; and his name would have appeared on the May 20, 2002 primary ballot -- which it did not.
A simple review of campaign finance reports puts to bed any notion that Schweiker was considering a bid for governor in 2002. Baker may be the ultimate Harrisburg insider, but even non-insiders know that in order to make a serious run for statewide office, the first thing that is needed is money -- a lot of money. Just ask the candidates who actually were in the race for governor. For the period ending December 31, 2001, gubernatorial candidates Ed Rendell, Mike Fisher and Bob Casey, Jr. had campaign war chests with a combined total of more than $20 million. For the same period, Schweiker's coffers boasted a tad over $16 thousand -- hardly a man contemplating a run for reelection as Pennsylvania Governor. For some perspective, on a single day in May, Baker paid a Virginia firm $13 thousand just to conduct a survey for her.
Baker's misstatement of fact aside, what is most disturbing about her response is her recognition that her position with Blue Cross presented a conflict of interest. It is disturbing because this conflict did not materialize with her formal announcement as a candidate last fall. For someone who readily admits she has coveted public office the "better part of her adult life," for someone who purchased "bakerforsenate.com" in 2000, a conflict of interest existed from the moment Baker took the job as director. If only fairness, honesty and integrity had guided her then.
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