Robocalls, site incense legislator
HARRISBURG — Someone is deceiving taxpayers through an anonymous website that portrays Rep. Daryl Metcalfe as a bigot and a hypocrite on state spending, the Butler County Republican said on Tuesday.
Metcalfe protested “robocalls” made to people in his Cranberry-based district that directed them to a website titled “The Real Daryl Metcalfe.”
The criticism by an unknown party is “deceptive, misleading and libelous,” he said.
With a Burger King crown superimposed on a Metcalfe headshot, the website begins:
“Hello taxpayers. Rarely does one find a politician quite like Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. Sure, it is easy to find bigoted, hate-spewing, egotistical people in all walks of life, but Daryl has a well-earned reputation for out-hating and out-spewing nearly every person in the Commonwealth.
“But what really gets Daryl's blood pumping? Wasteful government spending!”
Calling Metcalfe “King of the Whoppers,” the website suggests Metcalfe loves eating at Burger King at taxpayers' expense and treats his staff to meals there. The website lists numerous expenditures, such as $154,000 in per diems, the food and lodging payments for the legislative session, often without listing the period covered. It says he spent more than $50,000 on state-paid vehicles.
Metcalfe, 50, elected in 1998, said he didn't know what period the per-diem total referred to and said he doesn't drive a state-paid car.
“I haven't had a state vehicle in years,” Metcalfe said.
The website says he earns $82,000 a year; legislators are paid $83,802.
A link on the page to a portion of Metcalfe's expenses runs from January 2010 through the end of this June.
Noting his affinity for burgers and for coffee from Starbucks, the site says: “There's not a bill small enough for Metcalfe to pick up himself.”
Metcalfe said there are numerous small expenses for which he doesn't seek reimbursement. It's legitimate for his staff to be reimbursed for meals when traveling, and eating at Burger King is relatively cheap, Metcalfe said.
When a reader clicks on a link to “contact” the website, the response is that the “link appears to be broken.”
Anonymous political attacks and phone calls during elections aren't new. The use of websites to mount such attacks is a more recent phenomenon, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.
Borick said he understands the frustrations of politicians attacked anonymously.
“They want to say, ‘Hey, if you have a problem with me, I'd be happy to debate it and argue with you in public,' ” Borick said.
Metcalfe over the years “courted controversy” by taking certain positions and making inflammatory statements, Borick said.
“There isn't necessarily anything scandalous about this (website),” said Wes Leckrone, a political science professor at Widener University. Some statements on the site prompt Leckrone to believe its author may be a Republican. One such statement, Leckrone said, is that Metcalfe “talks like a conservative but spends like Obama.”
Top Republican officials in Harrisburg said they were not aware of anyone in the party going after Metcalfe on the Internet.
“Based on the content of the site, it seems that the anonymous deceivers disagree with me on many issues,” Metcalfe said. The issues include gun control, the state's ban on gay marriage, Medicaid expansion and a bill to raise transportation revenue, Metcalfe said.
“There are many powerful special interests who are not accustomed to having anyone stop their ability to have government pick the taxpayers' pockets on their behalf,” he said.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Judge lets New Kensington Ten Commandments monument stand
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Consol takes $603 million loss in second quarter
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Leisure, hospitality lead Pittsburgh area job gains
- Watering garden right during summer’s high temperatures makes difference
- Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
- UPMC, Allegheny Health Network employees win lunch-pay lawsuits