Mahoney and Rattay Become Central Figures in Fairgate Allegations/VRC Referral

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by Pezzonovante in Labels: , , ,

With the testimony of Fayette County Democrat Party Chairman George Rattay and ex-State Rep. and 51st Legislative District Nominee Timothy S. Mahoney at yesterday's hearing before the Fayette County Voter Registration Commission, the two men have become the central figures in the PA Republican Committee allegations of violations of the Voter Registration Act and in the referral to the district attorney made by a unanimous 3-0 vote taken by the members of the Voter Registration Commission (VRC) -- Attorney Herbert Mitchell, Jr., Attorney Mark Rowan, and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink.  

In multiple instances under questioning, Rattay invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate.

During Mahoney's testimony, it was revealed that a stay at a condo he owns was one of the prizes on offer on the pre-printed inducement signs which hung at the Democrat's Fayette County Fair booth and which read "REGISTER HERE TO VOTE AND WIN!" and "must register democrat or change your party to democrat."

Mahoney averred that prizes were not purchased (i.e., an attestation showing intimate personal knowledge of what did and did not happen as it pertains to prizes) and that no transactions took place (i.e., there was no transfer of prizes to registrants).

However, the law is clear.  

25 C.S.A. § 1711(a)(3).

25 C.S.A. § 1711(a)(3)
(a) Prohibition.--No person may do any of the following:
(3) Intentionally give or promise or offer to give money or goods to an individual as an inducement for the individual to enroll in a particular party or for a registrant to change political enrollment.

Inducements do not have to transfer for there to be a violation.

In the Herald-Standard article on the hearing, this point was summed up masterfully and succinctly by the attorney representing the PA GOP.

The fact that you ultimately don’t give it doesn’t negate the violation itself, because you, in fact, promised and offered to give it,” said Ronald L. Hicks, Jr., an attorney representing the state Republican Committee.

Put simply, the offer of an inducement to an individual for the individual to enroll in a particular party or for a registrant to change political enrollment -- to which offer Mahoney and Rattay already have admitted took place -- is the violation.

The law classifies a violation of under 25 C.S.A. § 1711(a)(3) of the Voter Registration Act as a misdemeanor of the first degree.  

A person who violates subsection (a) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

In testimony offered yesterday, Mahoney characterized the allegations being made by the state Republican Committee as a game.  He said it was okay; it was a game he was willing to play.

With yesterday's unanimous 3-0 VRC referral to the district attorney, and in consideration of the very real penalty outlined above, that "game" looks like it has taken a very serious turn, indeed.