With the New Year bringing us an exciting Democratic primary and possibly even a Republican primary fight in the race for Governor, we are shocked to learn Chinese hackers are continuing to be successful as they probe, literally at will and with ease, the Federal Election Commission.
It’s true! It’s been confirmed by the Federal Inspector General.
Files hacked included, we understand, the tracking of over $6 billion in political spending plus access to FEC investigations, General Counsel’s reports, subpoenas and personal identifying information.
It’s also been reported Chinese hackers crashed FEC computer systems just after the government shutdown on Oct. 1, when no employees were designated as essential, and as a result, noen were on premises to react against the first signs of a breach attempt.
While the Feds involve themselves in another “who’s to blame game”, we ponder why would the Chinese seek those records from an agency hardly one in 10 Americans know exists … especially since only one in 10 voters took the time to vote in our last municipal election?
We ask your thoughts! We offer one: the money trail. They want to learn who still has enough money to spend in American political campaigns now costing billions. Where they go with that is more of a mystery. But they may be able to use these data to connect US political candidates with business interests that impact China.
The Chinese government may even be able to learn how best to funnel its own campaign funds into our domestic races as a result. Do not assume, in an era where “black money” is increasingly important in our politics, that all this money was raised inside the USA.
We have enough to interest us in this coming May 20 primary. The Democrats won’t be able to come up with an endorsement. The field is weighed with formidable candidates, each claiming sizeable support from the various cliques in that State Committee. Example, Allyson Schwartz already has the endorsement of Philadelphia’s powerful City Committee Chairman Congressman Bob Brady.
The Republicans will endorse their incumbent Governor and Lieutenant Governor, though all the polls label the team “one-termers”. There will be an attempt to force an open primary as witnessed by the efforts of potential challengers, but Tom Corbett and Jim Cawley have the big guns.
For the fall – swirling mists obscure our gaze. Much depends on what the man at the top, Corbett, does in Pennsylvania. His recent abandonment of an ill-advised effort to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery came early enough to allow senior voters time to forget. But his Democratic foe will still belabor him with the millions he spent on a pointless exercise.
Our crystal ball looks clear enough for us to see the turnout in Philadelphia controlling the outcomes in the gubernatorial, congressional and possibly the contested legislative seats.
If 50% of Philadelphia voters turn out, we can guarantee a win for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz in the Democratic Primary for Governor and a win for State Rep. Brendan Boyle in the 13th Congressional Dist.
Our crystal ball is still churning up mist when we try to read the outcome of the 174th Legislative Dist. Democratic primary, which has State Reps. John Sabatina, Jr. and Ed Neilson butting heads, due to reapportionment. We looked to the Chinese to help us with this one, but they don’t come cheap, since they are not yet interested in where the big money comes from in Philadelphia elections. They figure, if voters don’t care, why should they?
Already, though, we can see a keener interest in municipal government by next November. Tens of thousands of voters will have just received their new Actual Value Initiative tax bills from the City and it will have dawned on them that municipal policy-making during 2013 has had huge consequences in their pocketbook.
We also see – what is that, a freight train heading straight at us with its headlights blazing and horn blaring? No, it’s the 2014-15 School District budget. If you think parents were unhappy this fall – just wait until next November. Much of what made the current school year salvageable depended on one-time fixes. No easy fixes will be in reach next year. Sadly, expect our school crisis to get worse.
City pensions need a long-term solution. We hope bright minds will be hard at work to come up with solutions but we fear they will once again be distracted by other issues.
On the plus side, real labor peace may at last be in reach. The drawn-out struggle between the administration and public employees that has crippled long-term planning will, we predict, come to an end as both sides see the need for conclusion outweighs the ill will that has arisen.
We’ll continue to bring our readers the most-complete reports as to the progress of all the candidates in the various races of interest to Philadelphians. We also promise not to give up trying to whip up the enthusiasm of the active members of all parties in getting out the vote and in increasing voter interest.