Two Democratic elected officials, Kim Scarpiello of Falls Township and Dorothy Carr of Solebury Township, were censured on Monday by the Executive Board of the Bucks County Democratic Committee for abusing their offices as tax collectors to promote Republicans running for office – and for opposing the Democratic candidates.
In October, both Scarpiello and Carr utilized stationery designated for official tax collector business that also included their official titles and addresses to encourage local residents to vote for the Republican candidate running for county treasurer. Additionally, both letters, using nearly identical language, claimed to have been “paid for by the Bucks County Republican Committee.”
The letter sent by Dorothy Carr also urged recipients to vote for other Republican candidates running for county office.
“Under the Pennsylvania Ethics Act, elected officials are to avoid using public resources for political purposes,” explained State Senator Steve Santarsiero, Chair of the BCDC. “While these mailings may not have violated the letter of the law – which is why the Bucks County Democratic Party is not filing a formal ethics complaint – they certainly are contrary to the spirit of the act.”
Santarsiero advised that the matter is being referred to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General as other activities by Scarpiello and Carr may have violated the law. BCDC is also asking officials to conduct a formal investigation as to the extent the Bucks County Republican Party, along with at least two other Republican tax collectors who sent similar letters, may have participated.
“Under the circumstances, I think calling for an investigation is reasonable,” said incumbent Democratic County Treasurer Kris Ballerini. “It’s disappointing and it violates the public trust,” she added, referencing how the tax collectors utilized their official offices for political reasons.