Sunday, September 19, 2004

Forced Contributions to GOP?

PHILADELPHIA-September 14, 2004 —

Employees of the Republican-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority said they were told by their superiors to contribute to the GOP, or risk losing their jobs, a newspaper reported.

Five employees said they were pressured on the job to contribute $275 per year, the Philadelphia Daily News reported for Tuesday editions. Campaign finance records show dozens of $100 contributions this year from workers making $25,000 or less.

State law forbids demanding political contributions from public employees or contractors.
"It's extortion," said Michael J. Vecchione, who was hired two years ago to work in the authority's impoundment lots. The four other employees spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity.

Vecchione, 38, said he had been on the job about a month when his supervisor asked him to buy a $100 ticket to the Republican City Committee's fall dinner.

"I told her, "I'm not really a political person.' Then she told me, 'You should understand, this is a patronage job and you have to buy three tickets a year.' At that time, I refused to pay, but two days later another supervisor came up and said I was still under probation. If I didn't buy the tickets they could fire me."

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