The LuLac Edition #203, April 24th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: THE WORLD AND PENNSYLVANIA POLITICAL ACTIVIST RUSS DIAMOND WHO WILL THEORETICALLY BE SPEAKING ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD COME MAY HERE IN NORTHEASTERN PA.
SUGAR NOTCH – The eighth annual State of the World Forum will be held from noon to 3 p.m. May 6 at 893 Main St.
Russ Diamond, chairman of PAClean Sweep, will talk about his reform agenda and proposal for an unlimited constitutional convention for Pennsylvania. Mort Malkin, a social-political activist and author of four books on health and fitness, will talk about “Keeping Ahead of the Learning Curve on Global Heating.” Caleb Ginyard III will conduct a multimedia presentation about his famous father, Caleb Ginyard Jr., a renowned black doo-wop and spiritual singer. The Annual Free Speech Awards will be conducted at the forum. Kurt Shotko and Tim Grier are recipients.
For more information, contact Mario Fiorucci at (570) 819-0721, or e-mail email@example.com.
Birth and Evolution of PACleanSweep
The next year, after members of the state legislature voted themselves a substantial pay raise during a midnight session on July 7, 2005, Diamond created PACleanSweep.com, a website dedicated to ousting every incumbent legislator in the state. This later spawned an informal grassroots organization, and eventually a nonprofit corporation and subsidiary political action committee (PACleanSweep, Inc., better known as PACleanSweep) set out to accomplish this by recruiting candidates in every House and Senate district. Since the group was non-partisan, candidates from all parties were recruited, with the only requirement being that they sign a pledge drafted by Diamond to repeal the pay raise that had inspired the group; allow Pennsylvania voters to decide future legislative, executive, and judicial pay raises by referendum; and not pass any legislation put before the state legislature until citizens had been given 10 business days to examine it.
PACleanSweep eventually found candidates for two State Senate districts and 44 State House Districts. On May 16, 2006, the day of the primary election, 35 of the CleanSweep candidates won their primaries. 16 of the winners were running in contested races and 7 of them defeated incumbents. Two notable incumbent defeats were Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, both Republicans (though Brightbill and Jubelirer were defeated by candidates not affiliated with the PACleanSweep organization). Combined with 10 other incumbents who lost primaries to non-CleanSweep candidates, two successful petition challenges, and 30 retirements of incumbents, the total number of incumbents ousted in the primary stood at 49, or roughly one-fifth of the general assembly.
PACleanSweep made Diamond known throughout the state, culminating in his being named one of three "Citizens of the Year" by the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 1, 2006. Nine days later, Diamond authorized the Draft Russ Diamond political committee, a group aiming to test the viability of his candidacy for office. Finally, on April 13, 2006, he announced that he would run for Governor as an Independent.
Diamond's platform in his run for Governor includes pledges to abolish the property tax, fund public education out of general revenues, audit all government expenditures for efficiency and usefulness, call a constitutional convention to modernize the state's constitution, repeal a bill legalizing slot machines, and "stimulate economic development" by reducing taxes and regulation. He has promised to serve only one term and not run for re-election. His running mate is Tom Lingenfelter, a former Republican state committeeman and Democratic candidate for Congress.
To qualify for the general election ballot, Diamond needed to collect approximately 67,000 signatures by August 1, 2006, but he informed the media that he had only collected about 38,000.
A four-time divorcee, Diamond's minor brushes with the law were briefly mentioned in the press during his 2004 campaigns and in 2005-2006. Diamond's elderly father was arrested in 2005, shortly after the creation of PACleanSweep, after a lengthy armed standoff with police.
Schism with PACleanSweep and the Reform Movement
Critics point to efforts by Diamond to prevent PACleanSweep from searching for gubernatorial candidates as evidence that Diamond planned to seek office from the start.
In March of 2006, Diamond attempted to remove five of the ten members of PACleanSweep's Board of Directors. Diamond requested the resignations of all board members, and cut off access to those who refused. Ironically, Diamond continued to operate PACleanSweep, with the assistance of board members who had submitted their resignations, over the protests of many in the reform movement. Diamond would later attempt to add four individuals to the group's board, and then resigned in April of 2006 to run for governor.
In April of 2006, Diamond was sued by several members of PACleanSweep's Board of Directors for violating nonprofit corporation law and the organization's charter. A Lebanon County judge declared that the four board members Diamond attempted to add were not legal directors of PACleanSweep, and ordered that corporate access and voting rights be returned to the rightful Board of Directors.
With PACleanSweep's Board of Directors now divided and no longer personally loyal to him, Diamond then attempted to change the voting structure by granting himself and Lingenfelter voting rights, despite a unanimously-passed corporate policy that prohibited political candidates from exercising control of the corporation.
When this move failed, Diamond and his supporters attempted to disband the corporation entirely. Unable to garner even a simple majority for dissolution (the organization's by-laws called for a two-thirds supermajority for such a move).