Democratic House Majority Leader Todd Eachus (pictured to the left) has occupied the seat since 1996, and he made one of those kinds of gaffes that can put an incumbent in play around this time of year. A year, when few incumbents around the country can safely assume an election is in the bank.
Eachus’ Republican Challenger, Tarah Toohil, (pictured to the right), is picking apart his statements, his claims, the way one separates’ bones from a fish. Eachus, when questioned the other day about a ride in a private jet he took on January 31, 2007, said he took it to go back to Harrisburg as quickly as possible because it was a voting day in the House.
Attorney Robert Powell owned the plane, which got Toohil thinking hard. She looked up that day and discovered that it was a nonvoting day in the House.
Eachus’ Campaign Spokesperson, Dave Georges told us, “It was an honest mistake,” as Georges’ reiterated. It occurred three years ago; however, it’s a mistake, and a flight Eachus would rather forget.
Powell was a friend and supporter of Eachus and Eachus, for his part, supported a bill to build a cargo airport — a roughly a half-billion dollar project — Powell stood to gain since he was the developer.
Georges said Powell donated somewhere between $17,000,00 and $18,000,00 to Eachus campaigns over a couple of election cycles.
“The money was contributed year ago it was done long before there was any knowledge of the activities of Mr.Powell was involved in,” said Georges.
Powell was implicated in what became known as “kids-for- cash,” a scandal that involved paying off judges to send kids to certain detention centers including one that Powell had a financial stake.
Toohil did not return our call for an interview.
Georges pointed out that Toohil is also tied to the scandal. Toohil worked as a paid intern from now, Former Judge Michael Conahan. Conahan admitted to taking money from Powell.
Mike Barley, a spokesperson for the Republican party of Pennsylvania, says the 116th district, “is a race we really want to bring home.” Republicans want voters to know everything about what they call Eachus’ questionable ethics.
“Eachus has a record of doing what is good for Todd Eachus,” said Barley.
Barley says it’s a close race, but according to Eachus’ in-house polling numbers – it shows Eachus leading by 24 percentage points, in a survey that was taken in September.
Asked about the pressure that Toohil is bringing to bear, “I didn’t think he [Eachus] is overly concerned because he has done what he always has done which is being straightforward,” said Georges.
As for that flight, upon further review, Eachus says he was taking care of legislative business, which included a news conference about the now failed attempt to build that cargo airport.
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