Pennsylvania governor candidate subpoenaed over Jan. 6 spent more on buses, report says

2879

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano has been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator running for the Republican nomination for governor, spent $1,000 more than was previously known on bus trips that took place around the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Mastriano, who was a scheduled speaker at the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the riot, expensed three charges for "bus reservations" totaling $3,354 to his state Senate campaign in late December 2020.

That same week, Mastriano created a Facebook event offering bus rides to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, charging adults $25 and children $10.

Amended campaign finance filings from February of this year reveal that Mastriano failed to disclose two additional bus-related payments: a $225 expense paid to Wolf Bus Lines, the company that the previously disclosed reservations were made through, for "Bus trip parking fees," and a $709 payment made to BJ Brink of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, for "food supplies for Bus."

Mastriano's campaign reported no other expenditures on bus trips or reservations in 2020 or 2021.

In the wake of the insurrection, Mastriano maintained that he left the "Stop the Steal" rally before it became a violent riot and never crossed police lines. Video footage from Jan. 6, however, shows Mastriano crossing barricades abandoned by Capitol Police and advancing on the Capitol building.

On Feb. 15, 2022, the candidate was subpoenaed by the U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chair and a Democrat, said that in addition to being present on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, Mastriano helped plan a Republican effort to send a false slate of pro-Trump Pennsylvania electors to Congress — an effort that fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta, a former U.S. representative, also participated in as one of the false electors.

Mastriano's amended filings have raised other questions as well. They reveal that he raised $1 million, nearly twice the $550,000 he had disclosed, and spent 15 times more than was previously known. State Senate President Pro Tem Jake Corman, another candidate for governor, tried to get Matt Fogal, the district attorney of Mastriano's home county, Franklin County, to investigate whether Mastriano had committed perjury and violated state campaign finance laws by not disclosing the nearly half-million dollar difference.

Fogal called the request "frivolous" and "shameful."

"This is a political stunt and I have more important work to do for the citizens of Franklin County," he said. ​​"Both Corman and Mastriano are members of the GOP in Pennsylvania, rhetorically fighting to win the Republican nomination for Governor from within that party."

A recent poll of likely Republican primary voters found Mastriano narrowly trailing Barletta 24% to 20%, with Corman at a distant third place with 5% of the likely vote.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa Nahem said in a statement sent to the American Independent Foundation: "Doug Mastriano has done more to help Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election than any other candidate in Pennsylvania's crowded far-right gubernatorial primary … if Mastriano wins the primary, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party will do everything we can to make sure Doug Mastriano doesn't get anywhere near the Governor's office."

Mastriano's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.