Thursday, March 23, 2006

Response From Alan Sandals

Alan Sandals responded to my letter; unfortunately, he evaded its primary intent. While I am extremely grateful that he composed a thoughtful, personal 700 word letter for me in one day's time--if only our current elected representatives were so prompt--I remain irked by his dodging of my abortion question. The third sentence of my letter read as follows:

I would like to know Mr. Sandals' current position on parental notification and consent for abortion.

In fact, the obvious intent of my letter was asking whether or not Sandals changed positions on parental notification and consent for abortion to obtain the NOW PAC endorsement. Sandals did not mention the words "parental, notification, consent," or "abortion" in his letter...Argh! However, Sandals does state that:

[he is] willing to accept contributions from non-business PACs, such as issue advocacy groups and labor and other non-business associations, whose positions on the issues are consistent with [his] own positions.

The only problem is that NOW's position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with Sandals' stated position. According to Sandals (August, 2005):

Limited parental notification and consent requirements are about the only condition or qualification that I would think is appropriate.
According to Washington State NOW:
Laws which pressure young women to carry pregnancies to term are dangerous…Even with judicial by-pass provisions, parental notification laws in other states have caused up to an 18% increase in 2nd trimester abortions due to the delay of telling a parent or going to court. Other states with by-pass provisions have experienced arbitrary and unfair decisions depending on which judge heard the case. Some judges granted all requests and some judges granted none.

So, if Sandals’ position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with NOW’s, why did he accept NOW PAC’s contribution? Perhaps he flip-flopped on consent to appease NOW?

Anyway, Alan Sandals’ letter is posted in its entirety below. Give it a read; it’s a good letter. Don’t get me wrong, Sandals would be an excellent alternative to Casey—definitely not as good as Chuck Pennacchio—but I do find the circumstances surrounding his NOW PAC endorsement to be suspect. I have more commentary coming, but this post is already too long.


March 23, 2006

XXXX a/k/a Shlomo Boudreaux

Dear XXXX:

Thank you for your letter of March 22, 2006. Your initial blog post on March 21st stated that my receiving the endorsements of the National Organization for Women PAC and the Feminist Majority PAC was “great news for Pennsylvania.” Your post also revealed that you were disappointed that the endorsements did not go to your preferred candidate, Chuck Pennacchio.

Regarding the concerns stated in your letter, I can respond as follows. First, I cannot speak for the endorsing organizations or describe their evaluative process in selecting me for the endorsement. But during the press conference on March 21, both Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority and Kim Gandy of NOW addressed the reasons for their endorsement decisions. Their March 21 statements explaining the endorsement decisions will be posted shortly on the campaign, website,

Although we do not yet know each other (and I hope to meet you in the near future), I assume you have had an opportunity to research my background of service and legal advocacy for ordinary working people. Unlike my two opponents in the Democratic primary, I have been fighting for Pennsylvanians and against abusive corporate behavior for my entire adult life. My cases to preserve or recover pensions and medical benefits involve great risk and commitment to my clients. This is one of the most difficult areas of legal practice due to the weaknesses and traps of the federal pension and benefits law, ERISA. Most lawyers simply refuse to get involved in these cases because of their difficulty and risk.

On the issue of PAC money, I have made clear in public forums as recently as last Sunday in Northwest Philadelphia that I do not seek and will not accept contributions from PACs organized by businesses or trade associations. In contrast, I am willing to accept contributions from non-business PACs, such as issue advocacy groups and labor and other non-business associations, whose positions on the issues are consistent with my own positions. As you know, federal election laws appropriately place relatively low limits on the amount of direct contributions that a PAC can make to a candidate. Unlike some candidates who solicit and rely on a multitude of PAC contributions from business and non-business sources, my own campaign rejects this approach. In fact, my campaign has not received any PAC money to date.

Despite your personal disappointment about the endorsement outcome, there is no reason for you to doubt my political integrity or my commitment to justice for all Americans. The fact is that I am a lawyer who regularly works to save senior citizens and others from corporate abuses, even to the point of having to watch clients break down on the witness stand due to the financial distress caused by the abuses that I fight against. I never represent management and have no interest in doing that.

During my years at Haverford College, I became familiar with the commencement address by Isaac Sharpless to the class of 1888. I carry around in my briefcase a brochure containing this excerpt from his address:

I suggest that you preach Truth and do Righteousness as you have been taught, whereinsoever that Teaching may commend itself to your Consciences and your Judgments. For your Consciences and your Judgments we have not sought to bind; and see to it that no other Institution, no political Party, no social Circle, no Religious Organization, no pet Ambitions put such chains on you as would tempt you to sacrifice one Iota of the Moral Freedom of your Consciences or the Intellectual Freedom of your Judgments.

This 2006 campaign calls on each of us to “preach Truth and do Righteousness.” I am glad to see that you and so many others I meet are ready to do the hard work of changing our political system to serve the real needs of ordinary citizens. We are running out of precious time to make this change. But, fortunately, my campaigning around the state shows that there is near universal awareness – despite our geographic, economic, social and political party differences – that we have to do this work for ourselves and our children, and that entrenched politicians must join us or get out of the way.

I look forward to meeting you and I appreciate the thought and concern that went into your letter and posts.


Alan Sandals


At 6:28 PM, Blogger Rebecca Martin said...

I think Alan Sandals is the better candidate to beat Casey because he fights for the rights of working people but he can still appeal to the cross over vote.


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