The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, December 03, 2004  

Or His Breaking Thereof

Dwight Meredith, writing at Wampum, examines the controversy over the residency of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the house the lawmaker owns in Penn Hills, Pa., and the education the town bought and paid for his children. This is a subject discussed several times here in the past, and now Meredith looks at the issue from the perspective of a practicing attorney, asking, in a fine and tightly reasoned essay, “Did Santorum Break the Law?” According to Meredith, “The answer seems to be a qualified ‘yes.’”

Meredith cites Pennsylvania statute 3922, Theft By Deception, and argues, “Santorum intentionally obtained property of the Penn Hills school district by requesting and receiving the benefit of payment for his children’s education. The payment of about $100,000 towards the education of the Santorum kids is ‘property’ within the meaning of the statute.”

Meredith further argues:

Did Santorum use deception to obtain that benefit? The news reports confirm that Santorum provided the paperwork necessary to obtain the payments to the charter school. It would be very interesting to see the actual paperwork Santorum submitted. My guess, and it is just a guess though an educated one, is that those documents will show that Santorum represented that his children were “residents” of Penn Hills. Given that Santorum had to know that that he and his large family did not live in the two bedroom rental house but rather lived in the $750,000 home in Virginia, that statement, if made, was a deception. It was also intentionally made.

Meredith also cites Pennsylvania statute section 4903 on false swearing and Pennsylvania statute section 4904, Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, adding injury to Sen. Santorum’s insult to his “neighbors.”

Meredith suggests, wisely in my opinion, that an enterprising reporter delve deeper into determining whether Sen. Santorum committed any crimes.

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