HARRISBURG, PA – Democrat Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman reportedly won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate on May 17th, but a new report regarding the aspiring senator alleges that he may have violated state election laws back in 2020 by way of a scheme meant to monetarily incentivize voters to “bank” their ballots.
The outlet 100 Percent Fed Up came into possession of a series of Twitter posts that date back to October of 2020, where it appears as though Fetterman is offering people to be entered into a raffle for a gift card and lottery scratcher if they share proof of them securing their ballot.
Although 100 Percent Fed Up asserted that the “tweets by Fetterman that have been since been deleted,” the offending social media post in question is still live as of this writing.
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On October 31st of, 2020, Fetterman wrote, “BANK YOUR BALLOT PA. I want ALL the @’s in my [timeline]. Let’s see you bank them. Monday, Grace will pick the winner of a Sheetz gift card for you to celebrate democracy. And, a P.A. scratch-off to remind you that you can gamble in P.A. but are a criminal if you sip some weed.”
A myriad of individuals replied to the post, with many of them showing evidence in pictures that they had indeed “banked” their ballot in the state. However, some people in the comments section were asking whether or not they could be considered for a Wawa gift certificate instead of Sheetz, to which Fetterman wound up reiterating in multiple replies that the gift card for Sheetz had already been purchased.
The issue at hand is that entering people into a raffle with prizes of a monetary value in exchange for them to vote in an election could very well violate Pennsylvania state law Section 3539 – Bribery at elections.
The state law regarding bribery at elections is as follows:
“Any person who shall, directly or indirectly, give or promise or offer to give any gift or reward in money, goods or other valuable thing to any person, with intent to induce him to vote or refrain from voting for any particular candidate or candidates or for or against any constitutional amendment or other question at any primary or election; or who shall, directly or indirectly, procure for or offer or promise to procure for such person any such gift or reward with the intent aforesaid; or, who with the intent to influence or intimidate such person to give his vote or to refrain from giving his vote for any particular candidate or candidates or for or against any constitutional amendment or other question at any primary or election, shall give to or obtain for or assist in obtaining for or offer or promise to give to or obtain for or assist in obtaining for such person any office, place, appointment or employment, public or private, or threaten such person with dismissal or discharge from any office, place, appointment or employment, public or private, then held by him, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand ($15,000) dollars, or to undergo an imprisonment of not more than seven (7) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.”
Of course, with respect to the state law in Pennsylvania, there’s an obvious carveout that denotes the bribery must be in reference to a “particular candidate or candidates,” which affords some wiggle room in Fetterman’s case.
But then there is the federal law that touches on this matter, which the aforementioned ballots people were “banking” at the time were, of course, for the presidential election.
According to the Justice Department’s “Federal Election Fraud Fact Sheet,” one section reads, “Paying voters to register to vote, or to vote in elections where a federal candidate’s name is on the ballot (52 U.S.C. § 10307, 18 U.S.C. § 597), or through the use of the mails in those States where vote-buying is a ‘bribery’ offense (18 U.S.C. § 1952), or in federal elections in those States where purchased votes or registrations are voidable under state law (52 U.S.C. § 20511).”
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It’s unclear what, if anything, will come of this matter, as there are no reports that circulated at the time of the purported bribery scheme that suggested Fetterman’s actions would be investigated nor have any cropped up since then.
This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on May 18, 2022. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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