Franklin County DA declines to prosecute Mastriano over campaign finance filing – WETM –

by: George Stockburger

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FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2020 file photo, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States. Mastriano, a rising force in Pennsylvania’s ultra-conservative circles who has talked of his desire to bring an Arizona-style audit to Pennsylvania, led a private briefing Wednesday, June 30, 2021, for Republican senators on his plan. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal says his office is declining to prosecute Pennsylvania State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano for alleged campaign finance fraud after questions were raised by another Republican candidate for Governor, Jake Corman

Fogal says his office was notified of a letter drafted by the Pittsburgh law firm of Chalmers & Childs LLC, on behalf of its client, “Corman for Governor,” alleging Mastriano illegally filed campaign finance reports.

Corman’s attorneys alleged that Mastriano “failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign activities.”

Mastriano filed an updated campaign finance statement on Tuesday showing he had almost twice as much campaign cash as he initially reported.

Mastriano is now reporting that he had slightly over $1 million in his campaign account heading into 2022, instead of the $550,000 he initially reported.

The updated statement puts Mastriano among the biggest-raising candidates in a double-digits-deep Republican primary field competing for the nomination to challenge the presumed Democratic nominee, two-term state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

A letter drafted by the lawyers for “Corman for Governor” alleged Mastriano’s updated filing constitutes perjury, claiming “submitting a false campaign finance report “constitute[s] the crime of perjury” under Pennsylvania law.”

The drafted letter can be read below:

On Wednesday Corman’s campaign Twitter account retweeted a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Mastriano’s filing. Corman’s tweet consisted of one emoji of a spool of thread.

Fogal released a letter Friday night to the media saying he will “not be further dragged into a rancid, internecine affray amongst unserious and fanatical contestants for Governor. “

“Mr. Mastriano filed an initial Campaign Finance Report and then filed another one, and there were discrepancies between the two filings. This is not perjury, as has been suggested to me by Corman for Governor. That is not to say there may not be consequence. In ordinary times, such conduct would be appropriately addressed in our free press, which this has, and potential voters would be able to exercise their critical thought as to whether this type of conduct inspires confidence in a candidate’s fitness. Maybe it does or maybe it does not, and reasonable people may disagree. But this is not perjury.”

Matthew Fogal, Franklin County District Attorney

Fogal’s letter went on to further call the request to investigate Mastriano “frivolous,” “shameful,” and a “political stunt.” He went on to say that while there may not be a case for perjury, “that is not to say there may not be consequence.”

Fogal’s three-page response to the allegations can be read below:

WHTM has reached out to the Corman and Mastriano campaigns for comment on Fogal’s letter.

Mastriano was officially subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee last week over his alleged efforts to falsely declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the committee alleged Mastriano “was part of a plan to arrange for an “alternate” slate of electors from Pennsylvania for former President Trump and reportedly spoke with President Trump about post-election activities.”

Mastriano has not responded to requests for comments on the subpoena.

The Associated Press contributed to this report