Special Reports

E-mails from Mr. Heisse and Ms. Arnold

I had some emails this afternoon from two people, one was someone that I mentioned in passing, Karen Arnold; the other was from the editor Robert Heisse.  Ms Arnold asked me to correct something.  Mr. Heisse did not ask me to take anything out.  He asked me if I could “reflect her comments/position in your blog post.”  I didn’t.  I removed mine.  I also removed a reference that Ms. Arnold had not complained about, because I thought it could be misleading.

            The question was based on a question of if Ms. Arnold’s candidacy violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits some public employee from seeking public or party office.   I indicated that the there had been a ruling that complaint had been “dismissed.”  This would mean that there was no violation of the Hatch Act on Ms. Arnold’s part.  I also indicated that sometimes these claims were made just to embarrass the candidate; I thought someone was playing political games with her.

            Ms. Arnold emailed me stating that she initiated a “Hatch clearance” in accordance with county policy.  No one filed a complaint.  I took out the reference to anyone filing an even groundless complaint.

            The article I cited is here:  http://www.centredaily.com/2005/05/27/3780/bellefonte-police-receiving-fewer.html

It was published on 5/27/05.  It indicates that the Department of Justice “ruled” that Ms. Arnold’s candidacy did not violate the Hatch Act.  It did not say that there was a complaint filed nor did it say that the ruling was requested by Ms. Arnold.  Knowing that both Ms. Arnold and her ultimate opponent, Michael T. Madeira, had run for political office previously (delegate and state committee, respectively), and that Mr. Madeira was a state employee, I doubted any impropriety.   I don’t want to give the impression that Ms. Arnold violated the Hatch Act, so I removed the reference to a complaint.  And, for my part, I believe what she says; it makes sense to get what amounts to advisory opinion.

Ms. Arnold however claimed, “ A whole concocted story false from beginning to end.”  She said, as part of that, “…contending that it was ‘still pending’ as of 4/19/05…”  Yet at another point she stated, "On completion of the investigation I received a formal DOJ clearance letter, with a copy to Mr. Smith, which was issued just before the primary election.”  According to the article, published on 5/27/05, “…the U.S. Justice Department ruled last week that Arnold's candidacy, and her continued work in the district attorney's office, does not violate the Hatch Act, which restricts some public officials from political activity.”  I’m afraid I I’m not too sure what she’s saying.

            To me, since it is clear that Ms. Arnold was not in violation of the Hatch Act, it really does not make a huge difference.  I can only tell you what was reported.

            For my part, I don’t want to give anybody the impression that Ms. Arnold violated the Hatch Act, or that I was suggesting she did, when I clearly do not believe she did.  So I removed the references.