November 3, 2016 — Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), the grassroots advocacy group which, for five years, has pushed for improved University governance, truth and transparency, is urging its members –and all Penn State supporters – to back Republican Senator John Rafferty in his bid for Pennsylvania Attorney General.
PS4RS has been vocal in its demands for an investigation of The Second Mile, which has so far escaped scrutiny as the epicenter of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. PS4RS has also raised concerns about potential prosecutorial misconduct by former state prosecutor Frank Fina in connection with the charges brought against former Penn State administrators Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier. Finally, the organization has requested that the Non-Profit Enforcement unit of the Attorney General’s office, in tandem with the Auditor General, investigate the potential of breach of fiduciary duty, criminal conspiracy and fraud by certain Pennsylvania State University Board trustees – which has so far cost the University hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Because the Attorney General has legal responsibility to ensure that Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations are governed and operated appropriately, we believe our candidate evaluation process is critical to the organization’s watchdog function,” said Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship Spokesperson Maribeth Roman Schmidt.
“After spending time with both candidates, it was clear that John Rafferty understands the concerns of the Penn State community,” Schmidt said. “He reinforced the importance of conducting a thorough review of The Second Mile, including those who managed the day-to-day activities.”
As a member of the State Senate, Rafferty was involved in the lawsuit against the NCAA to repeal the sanctions, ensuring that Penn State’s $60 million fines stayed in Pennsylvania. He also served as co-chair of the Senate State-Related Caucus, reflecting his broader interest in higher education. Additionally, Rafferty was co-sponsor of The Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth Act (SB-800) initiated by Senator John Yudichak (D-14th District), which sought to modify the composition of the Penn State Board of Trustees for the purposes of increased efficiency and transparency.
For his part, Rafferty’s opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, also recognized the importance of investigating The Second Mile. However, PS4RS officials expressed concern over Shapiro’s ties to the Penn State Board of Trustees. “It’s on record that Josh’s campaign has received donations from Penn State Trustee Vice Chairman Mark Dambly,” explained Schmidt. “That’s cause for concern from a group like ours that’s been focused on ending the conflicts of interest and backroom deals that have undoubtedly contributed to this ongoing disaster.”
“As we welcome a new Attorney General in 2017, we are hopeful that this conversation will finally turn toward making Pennsylvania children truly safer. Too much time and too many resources have been wasted on an ill-conceived case targeting the wrong institution. This was never a Penn State problem. It was – and still is – a State of Pennsylvania problem,” concluded Schmidt.
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), with more than 40,000 members, was formed to promote positive change within the University Board of Trustees, demanding transparent, trustworthy leadership. For further information on PS4RS, please visit www.PS4RS.org, email [email protected], or go to http://www.facebook.com/PS4RS. Follow PS4RS on Twitter at @PS4RS.