Why Rick Santorum’s Pennsylvania Residency Scam and School Tuition Fraud Still Matters – And Why He Can’t Be the Nominee Because of It
With Rick Santorum’s close second place finish in last night’s Iowa Caucus, renewed attention will focus on the residency scam and tuition fraud Santorum perpetrated while serving as a United States Senator representing the Keystone state in the early 2000s.
Here’s a detailed look at what Santorum did, why it was illegal, and how this will affect his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination going forward.
I have no doubt in the coming days and weeks the agenda-driven media is going to smear Rick Santorum with references to the long-sustained Internet “Google Bomb” campaign directed at Santorum by Dan Savage and other members of the Left’s Gaystapo goon squad (namely, the high profile gay writers, talking heads, and self-styled “activists” who regularly come out in force to malign conservative political figures to service some purpose for the Left). If you type the word “santorum” into Google, you’ll find extensive references to feces and the staining of bedsheets with the same. This was the Gaystapo’s effort to prevent Santorum from ever having a career on the national stage, since they presumed creating a “Google problem” for Santorum involving such a close tie to feces would make him a pariah in conservative ranks.
For those who still need someone to point this stuff out for you, this is a classic Alinsky tactic, whereby savage singled Santorum out, polarized him, directed a novel personal attack against him, and attempted to make Santorum such a radioactive laughing stock that the rest of the Republican Party would seek to avoid him (lest they, too, be associated with the word “santorum” in Google results).
Well, Rick Santorum just came 8 votes from winning the Iowa Caucus, so Dan Savage failed with all that feces.
But, Santorum’s a fatally flawed candidate on the national stage regardless of anything the Gaystapo did to him…and this liability is 100% Santorum’s own fault. It’s also something Santorum has never come clean about or taken responsibility for in the slightest.
The real reason that Santorum lost re-election in 2006 by such a wide margin is because of the residency scam and school tuition fraud he perpetrated in the state of Pennsylvania while he was a sitting United States Senator.
When most people heard the name “Santorum” in Pennsylvania in the leadup to the 2006 race, they didn’t automatically think of feces, but became angry over “Santorum’s empty Pittsburgh house” and “Santorum demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition reimbursement for all those kids of his”.
I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 2003-2005 and was active politically at the time, routinely canvassing neighborhoods for various candidates. Time and again, people would practically foam at the mouth with anger over the shady things Santorum did with his residency and his children’s education “reimbursement”.
Here are the facts that upset Pennsylvanians so much:
* In 2004, while serving as a United States Senator, Rick Santorum claimed his legal address was a house in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, which was immediately next door to the home of his wife’s parents. During the spring and summer of that year — in the leadup to the presidential election — Pittsburgh news crews started investigating whether or not Santorum really lived in the house he claimed as his Pennsylvania residence. Several of these “investigative reports” showed the Penn Hills “Santorum House” as abandoned, with an unkempt lawn, peeling paint, and junk mail piled up near the front door — as if no one had visited the house in many months. When the cameras peeked inside the house, viewers saw room after room empty of any furnishings; it was clear that the Santorum family did not live at that residence at all.
* The Pittsburgh media made a great stink over this, which quickly spread to average men and women on the street who became upset that Santorum didn’t really live at his “official residence”. The reason this really hit home with Pennsylvanians was because Santorum had railed against Congressman Doug Walgren for moving out of his own district and not maintaining a real residence there. Pennsylvanians hate hypocrisy — and that’s just what Rick Santorum was…a hypocrite…for haranguing Walgren for not living in his district when Santorum himself didn’t even live in the state of Pennsylvania anymore.
* Records ultimately showed that Santorum lived exclusively in a $600,000+ near-mansion in Virginia. This is another thing you need to understand about Pennsylvanians to appreciate just how damaging this was to Santorum. On paper, Santorum claimed his residence was a $90,000 modest house in a suburb of Pittsburgh, when in reality that house was abandoned and Santorum was REALLY living in a house six times as expensive in another state. Here in Chicago, $600,000 can’t buy you a big house, but in Pittsburgh it would land you a palace…so the people who heard about Santorum’s residency scam were enraged that he “abandoned the state” and “lied to his constituents” by living in what they perceived to be a mansion instead of the Penn Hills residence he claimed.
* After the 2004 election was over, Santorum very quietly tried to eliminate the appearance that his Penn Hills home was abandoned by renting it out to unnamed individuals. This didn’t solve the problem, but only made things worse, because the renters registered to vote using Santorum’s Penn Hills address. It’s a similar situation to what Rahm Emanuel found himself in when he rented out his Chicago home when he moved to Washington, only to later try to claim he still lived there — technically — when he wanted to run for Mayor of Chicago. Just like with Emanuel, Santorum was able to survive the residency challenge because he paid $2,000 worth of property taxes a year on his Penn Hills home and still held its deed…even though he hadn’t lived there in many years and had no intention of moving back there (at least not until the lease expired with the people he rented it to).
* The net effect of all this was an ingrained sense amongst Pennsylvanians that Rick Santorum couldn’t be trusted, was a slippery snake, and that the things he did “just weren’t right, even if they were legal”.
* The other shoe to drop in all of this was the question of where, exactly, Santorum’s children were living and who was paying for their education — the people of Pennsylvania or the people of Virginia. Even though Santorum’s family was clearly living in Virginia, Santorum was billing the state of Pennsylvania — and the Penn Hills School District in particular — around $40,000 per child to educate each of his five children in the “Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School”. After the Pittsburgh local news stations started showing viewers the tours of Santorum’s empty and abandoned Penn Hills home, irate citizens started demanding an investigation into the legality of Santorum charging the Penn Hills school district for the expensive education of five children who didn’t really live there, and instead were living in Virginia.
* Things got incredibly ugly as this was all hashed out in both the media and in the court of public opinion. Ultimately, Santorum yanked his kids out of the “Cyber Charter School” program and had his wife Karen start homeschooling them instead — but he refused to reimburse the state for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent “cyber-schooling” the Santorum children while they lived in the state of Virginia. When confronted about any of this, Santorum became incredibly brittle on camera, lashing out at those who questioned him, and earning a solid reputation as an insufferable and impersonable jackass.
* A paperwork error on the part of the Penn Hills School District resulted in Santorum never having to reimburse the state for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in “cyber tuition” money, because the school district missed a deadline in filing their complaint.
* In 2006, whoever was renting the Santorums’ Penn Hills house was moved out and the place became abandoned and unoccupied again. During his Senate re-election campaign, Santorum claimed when confronted on the residency issue that he and his family were commuting back and forth to Pittsburgh every weekend and that he was spending “every holiday” in the Penn Hills home. But, the Pittsburgh news crews went there again and found the place unkempt and unfurnished, the same way it was back in 2004 the last time this issue arose. Instead of admitting he didn’t actually live in that Penn Hills house and was so stupid that he allowed this to blow up in his face again, Santorum just became brittle and angry at anyone who challenged him on it — resulting in more bad press coverage for him and more Pennsylvanians believing he was an emotionally unhinged liar.
* In one of the debates between Santorum and Bob Casey, the Democrat Senate nominee, in 2006, Santorum admitted that he only spent about 30 days or less in that Penn Hills home. To this day, he’s never had a good explanation for where he actually lived when he was a Senator representing Pennsylvania — or how he could have spent even one night in that house without furniture, electricity, food, or other things people expect to find in an occupied house.
I invite you to watch what happens when the agenda-driven media pushes Rick Santorum for answers related to any of this, in particular why he never reimbursed the state of Pennsylvania for the cost of his children’s education when they were all residents of the state of Virginia at the time.
There is a concrete weirdness that’s off-putting to most people when they hear Rick Santorum speak for any length of time. He is a hostile and often times very rude man who is brittle and unable to withstand any sort of public criticism without smacking back in a petty and unprofessional manner. The Pittsburgh local news crews used to love him, because those encounters over his house and the tuition reimbursement made for great TV.
Pennsylvania voters grew to detest this man, however, because nothing he did in relation to his house or his children’s education costs gave anyone much confidence in Santorum’s leadership abilities or capability to do what was right when it might have been inconvenient for him.
Pennsylvanians just didn’t trust Santorum enough to give him another term, which is how Democrats gained that seat in Pennsylvania in 2006 (and were thus able to ram through Obamacare at Christmas in 2009…when, if not for Santorum’s self-destruction, Democrats would have been one vote shy of making Obamacare happen).
The residency issues and tuition reimbursement fraud mattered back in 2006 to Pennsylvania voters…and they will matter again in 2012 to a national audience once the media starts reporting on Santorum’s past now that he is in a national spotlight for the first time in his career.
© 2012, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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