Two weeks after a former Republican candidate filed a campaign finance complaint, a group going by the same name as an entity that sent 11th-hour mailers opposing Marc Woerner for the GOP primary in the 169th House has registered to become a political action committee.
Woerner announced he filed the complaint with the Department of State in the hopes someone would identify the people behind PA Taxpayers for Integrity, the group which was listed as the sender of mailers that he says sabotaged him and cost him the win in the primary. A group by the same filed for PAC status Thursday.
Registration documents filed with the Department of State June 12 list the PAC's address as 130 W. Main St. Suit 144-129 in Collegeville, Pa. The filer is listed as Maria Cusik.
Calls to a daytime number listed on the form were not returned, nor was an email sent to a gmail account provided for the group. The address is the location of a shopping center and commercial space, according to images from Google Maps.
Sections of the registration have been left blank, including the list of supported candidates, affiliated and connected organizations, name and contact information for both the chairperson and the treasurer.
It's not clear whether or why the Montgomery County PAC had an interest in the Republican primary for a seat that covers only southwestern York County.
The complaint: Woerner said he realizes the investigation won't change the result of the race, which went to fellow GOP candidate Kate Klunk, but he want the group to be held accountable regardless.
The mailers were labeled as having been paid for by "PA Taxpayers for Integrity," though no registered PAC existed at that time.
Woerner said he believes the attack mailers were "in blatant violation of campaign finance laws because they were sent out by an unregistered, fictitious group" that didn't report the source of the estimated $10,000 cost of the mailers.
Department of State Press Secretary Ron Ruman said he couldn't confirm whether an investigation is under way, but failure to register a PAC that spent money is a violation of campaign finance law; such violations would be forwarded to law enforcement.
"Prior to today they were not registered, and if you're going to expend funds to influence the outcome of an election in PA...you need to be registered."
The prosecuting authority could levy fines or other penalties depending on the level of culpability determined, he said.
"When campaign finance reports are filed, we'll have more information on what this group has done," he said. "The group was corresponding with the Department earlier, but they had not registered. We have nothing to lead us to believe this is a different group (than the one that sent the mailers)."
Primary campaign finance reports are due June 19.
Woerner said the timing for the filing was "quite odd" and corresponds with media coverage.
"Now the pressure's on, now they want to file the paperwork," he said.
He said he "never heard of" Cusik and doesn't understand why the group would be interested in a York race.
"There are two many questions yet," he said. "I want to know who's on the committee, who's the treasurer?"
The 169th House was moved from Philadelphia to York County through redistricting, and the primary was the first York race for the district, which includes Codorus, Heidelberg, Penn, Manheim, Shrewsbury and West Manheim townships and Glen Rock, Hanover, New Freedom, Jefferson and Railroad boroughs.
— Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.