Skip to comments.Dems videotaped Barletta (Lou Barletta campaign for Congress)
Posted on 11/16/2008 8:15:19 AM PST by Born Conservative
U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski spent more than $2 million to win his 13th term, including $10,000 in payments to a videographer who followed political opponent Lou Barletta throughout the campaign.
Kanjorski, a Democrat, defeated Barletta in the Nov. 4 election by nearly 10,000 votes to retain his 11th Congressional District seat.
The videographer, identified as Joe Van Wie of Agapic Films of Scranton, was observed taping Barletta at campaign rallies and fundraisers. He also caught the mayor at Hazleton City Hall before and after council meetings, said Shawn Kelly, who served as Barlettas campaign spokesman.
Van Wie may have been able to track Barletta because he signed up to be a Barletta campaign volunteer.
Van Wie filled out a volunteer card for the Barletta campaign and wore a Barletta for Congress button at some of the events where he was working for Kanjorski and taping Barletta, Kelly said. When he signed the volunteer card, Van Wie checked two boxes on the card, volunteering to place a Barletta yard sign on his home lawn and volunteering to work the polls on Election Day.
But Van Wie would not discuss it.
I have no comment, Van Wie said when asked about the card. I refer all questions to Ed Mitchell.
Mitchell, who served as Kanjorskis campaign manager, said it is common in political campaigns to hire trackers to follow opponents to capture comments that are contradictory or controversial that could then be used for campaign purposes.
Many campaigns use trackers, said Terry Madonna, professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster. Using videographers has become a common practice in political campaigns.
Barletta said he did not hire a videographer to follow Kanjorski.
But Van Wie wasnt the only person with a camera paid to tail a political opponent.
U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, a Democrat who is finishing his freshman term in the 10th Congressional District, also employed a videographer.
Carney campaign spokesman Vince Rongione said a paid intern on the congressmans staff videotaped Republican Chris Hackett at a few public events, but none of the footage was used.
Hackett, who failed in his bid to unseat Carney, said he wouldnt stoop to such practices.
Madonna said there is no way to stop them since most show up at public events.
They look for inconsistencies, Madonna said. They watch to see if a candidate switches positions or says different things to different groups to tell them what they want to hear.
Kelly said Van Wie was seen with his camera at Hazletons Fun Fest, the opening of Barlettas campaign headquarters in Wilkes-Barre and at private fundraisers at the Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre and Arcaro and Genells in Old Forge.
Kelly said the presence of Van Wie and others became a fact of life on the campaign trail.
Mitchell said none of the footage taken by Van Wie was used in the campaign.
Mayor Barletta has been interviewed by media from around the world, so he was comfortable in front of a camera, whether it was from a legitimate news organization or a hired campaign staffer, Kelly said.According to Mitchell, Van Wie was hired by Kanjorskis campaign manager, Joe Werner. Mitchell said Van Wie was used as a tracker who took footage of Barletta at nearly every public appearance the Hazleton mayor made during the campaign.
We didnt use any of it, Mitchell said of the video of Barletta. Barletta was cautionary whenever he was around.
Madonna said Van Wie may have been trying to infiltrate the Barletta campaign.
That part of it sort of borders on sleazy, Madonna said. Trackers should not try to hide who they are. I dont think he needed to wear a Kanjorski button either, but he ought not to pose; that part of it is inappropriate.Madonna said trackers often fail to come up with any information worth using since most candidates are aware of the cameras.
Make no mistake about it, they are talked about at staff meetings and everyone is instructed to watch what they say, Madonna said.
Mitchell said the Kanjorski campaign used footage Van Wie took of Kanjorski and of people offering testimonials on his behalf.
But none of the Barletta video was used in campaign advertising or on our Web site, he said.
Barletta said there was more than one person following him around with a camera. He said he was aware of them, but never really paid much attention to them
Van Wie said he was given little direction when he was hired to take footage of Barletta.
It was just coverage, Van Wie said I didnt do anything menacing. All the footage I took was at public events that Barletta attended. I was just there.
Van Wie said the Kanjorski campaign never told him what was expected, just to follow Barletta with his video camera.
I guess if there were any gaffes caught on tape they might be used in a campaign, Van Wie said. I wouldnt invade anyones privacy.
Van Wie said he was at the opening of Barlettas headquarters in Wilkes-Barre and was invited into the office, but declined. He said he didnt want to be disruptive.
I work for Democrats, Van Wie said.
Van Wie said Barlettas staff and volunteers were polite to him wherever he went. He said he has not posted any of the footage online, but said much of the videotape was left at various editing firms and he doesnt know what happened to it. He retained master tapes of the footage.
I think what I gave them was pretty cheap; I didnt make much money on it, Van Wie said. My focus was more on promoting the congressmans legacy.
Barletta’s election was one of the bright spots in the election.
10k votes is an extremely thin margin for Kanjorski to have won, considering he previously never had much competition.
‘But none of the Barletta video was used in campaign advertising or on our Web site, he said.’
Translation: Barletta has character and we couldn’t find anything to use against him.
Oops. Misread it. Barletta lost. Sad.
Barletta lost :(
If Kanjorski had hired someone to do this to one of his ex-girlfriends, he’d be a stalker.
Sounds like they used the same playbook as Sarah’s handlers.
No problem with Van Wie taking a video camera around. But this guy is a sleaze who will do anything.
I work for Democrats, Van Wie said.
Not a surprise. Sleaze attracts sleaze.
One reason Barletta lost was the RNC and the Republican Congressional Committee failed to support him with the funds needed to defeat a well financed Kanjorski. Barletta’s hard line stance on illegal immigration went counter to the message the RNC wanted portrayed. For Barletta, who was reelected mayor last year with 90% of the vote, to get hammered by Kanjorski was an act of betrayal by the Republican Party.
That's all that's needed, and that number can be guaranteed when you have democrats hiring other democrat loyalists to actually join the opposition party and participate at polls, counting votes, and supposedly "keeping things honest".
I wouldn't be very surprised to learn if Van Wie was a active Acorn Member too, doing his part to "steal the election back" as was suggested by an acorn leader during a meeting.
I'd demand a recount considering it's now known there were nothing but foxes guarding the hen house
Nothing new about that!!!!
Against NFL rules but fair in love and war and politics.
Your post sums it up...Barletta was re-elected mayor with a super large majority...even won both the Dem and GOP nominations for mayor!
The GOP needs to dump the pro-amnesty agenda of its leadership. This seat should have been won by Barletta...if he had the support
Pennsyalvania is one of those states the GOP can reclaim if it runs on a no amnesty platform. Judging by McCain’s loss of the Hispanic vote in the national...a pro-amnesty agenda is a sure loser for the GOP
Hope Barletta comes back in ‘10, which should be a more favorable year for Republicans.
This is ordinary politics. If Barletta didn’t have someone filming Kanjorski, his campaign strategist’s competence should be questioned. You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight after all.
was would have been one of the bright spots in the election. :-(