Super PAC to Wagner: Give us our stuff or else
A liberal super PAC has a message for state Sen. Scott Wagner: Give us our stuff or else.
Two days after the Republican from Spring Garden Township was caught on film confronting a videographer and forcibly taking his equipment, the man's employer threatened to file charges.
Lizzy Price — a spokeswoman for American Bridge 21st Century, which describes itself as "a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable" — said a camera was returned to its representative, but the device's memory card was not.
"We know you're angry, but we demand you return our stolen property (SD card) immediately or we'll press charges," the organization tweeted at the senator late Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, Wagner, who's challenging Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in next year's gubernatorial contest, was giving a private speech at the Country Club of York when he noticed a man filming him.
Once Wagner found out the man was a tracker for American Bridge, he took the camera despite the tracker's objections.
"You're about to see your senator in action," Wagner said to the crowd prior to taking the camera, because "I'm a member here and you're not a member and you're trespassing."
Trackers often are hired to shadow political candidates in high-profile campaigns in an attempt to catch them saying or doing something controversial.
Video of the incident and subsequent cellphone footage of the super PAC worker trying to get his camera back were posted to YouTube by the organization.
Investigation: Spring Garden Township Police Chief George Swartz confirmed Wednesday that police were called to the scene and the incident is under investigation, but no conclusions had been drawn yet. Swartz did not respond Thursday to a voicemail message seeking an update.
Wagner also did not return voicemail messages seeking comment on the incident or whether he has the memory card, but he issued a statement Wednesday standing by his actions.
"Yesterday a tracker ... lied and trespassed on private property for a speech that I was giving in my role as a senator," he stated. "Instead of leaving when he was asked, the tracker continued to harass me and the people at the event, and finally I assisted in removing his camera. There are times when there is no choice but to stand up and confront the cheater in the room."
Camera memory cards sell on Amazon anywhere from $7 to $200 depending mostly on storage space. Price did not know the price of memory card in question.
Even if no charges are brought by Spring Garden Township Police, American Bridge could file a private criminal complaint with the York County District Attorney's Office.
Kyle King, a spokesman for the office, said — in general — a private criminal complaint would be reviewed by a county detective and, once investigated, brought to an assistant district attorney or District Attorney Tom Kearney to determine if charges should be filed.
However, King said the office would not be able to accept a criminal complaint regarding this specific incident due to a conflict of interest and therefore it would be referred to the state Office of Attorney General.
He declined to provide details on the conflict of interest.