Attorney General Tom Corbett’s presentment against former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House John Perzel accuses the Republican of using tax dollars to fund negative robocalls against members of his own party and at least two of them are stepping forward with reaction. Chester County Republican Curt Schroder says the anonymous calls were made to his constituents in February 2006. They came just before a vote on a property tax reform bill that he supported but Perzel was trying to stop. The message urged voters not to sign Schroder’s nominating petitions for the upcoming election. Schroder says he grew suspicious because he didn’t have a Democratic challenger that year. “Just knowing the way things were going, the way Perzel was, I thought, abusing his power in caucus, he was always my main suspect if you will. But believe me, I had given up any thought long ago that we’d actually find out who was behind it,” says Schroder.
According to the presentment, one of the private companies Perzel hired with public dollars carried out the calls. Each round of calls allegedly cost $3,200. Court document show Perzel used them “about a dozen times.” Cumberland County Republican Will Gabig was also allegedly targeted by the robocalls. He says he knew about them at the time. “In fact I reported that to the authorities. They were not identified, anonymous, and they were false, the information on there. We had reported it, but at the time there was nothing that could be done about it,” says Gabig.
Perzel has denied any wrongdoing.