D.A. asking questions of city GOP workers

Posted: January 06, 2011

Philadelphia prosecutors have mailed questionnaires to a number of Republican committeemen and women, asking about possible irregularities in last year's committeeman elections.

A cover letter sent out by the D.A.'s office suggests that some people were put up as candidates for committeeman in the May 2010 primary election without their knowledge or permission - raising potential issues of identity fraud.

The candidates were asked to tell the D.A.'s office whether they knew of their candidacies, and if not, to immediately contact Karl Supperer, a detective assigned to the prosecutor's office.

The questionnaire asks about how the candidates collected signatures on their nominating petitions and whether they personally appeared before a notary public to get their petitions notarized.

"The District Attorney's Office has received information that some people were listed as candidates in that election without their knowledge, authorization or consent," says an accompanying letter, signed by assistant D.A. William L. Inden.

Curtis Douglas, the deputy D.A. in charge of special investigations, confirmed that prosecutors had sponsored the mailing, but he provided no details.

The Inquirer reported last May on several Republican committeeman candidates who were apparently unaware of their candidacies.

One woman who ostensibly offered herself as a Republican committeewoman candidate was actually a Democrat who had died years ago, the newspaper said.

Committeemen are the volunteer footsoldiers of city politics, elected every four years by their neighbors in each of the city's 1,784 voting divisions.

Registered voters in each party can elect up to two committeemen in each division.

With Philadelphia Democrats outnumbering Republicans by more than 6-to-1, there's normally not much competition for the GOP slots.

Citywide, more than half the Republican spots are vacant, even with more than 200 new committeemen recruited last year in an organizing effort financed by Republican State Committee.

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