June 2, 2000,
GOP powers won't bite hand that saves them
by Jeff HawkesWe now know why Don Raymond has failed to come clean for this spring's dirty tricks. He knew he didn'thave to. As a campaign consultant, Raymond is accountable only to the politicians who pay his fees. And theylove him.The Republican leadership in the state House is so enamored of Raymond, they've given him animportant job: executive director of the House Republican Campaign Committee.What that means is whenever a House seat is in danger of falling to a Democrat, Raymond will ride to therescue. He'll do what he has to do to keep the Republicans in the majority in Harrisburg."He is someone who has lots of experience," said Stephen Drachler, spokesman for House MajorityLeader John Perzel, Raymond's boss. "He knows Pennsylvania as well as anyone. He understands thepolitical pulse of the state. He understands virtually every legislative district in the state. He has goodrelationships with members."That may be. But what about what Raymond did to voters in Lancaster County? What about how, whileworking for state House candidate Kevin Harley, he deceived voters into thinking that opponent MarcLemon was behind a negative phone attack on candidate Tom Creighton?
And what about the fact that Harley and his campaign manager, Bill Hall, swear they had nothing to dowith the smear calls? What about their assertion that they never would have resorted to such a tactic?What about their insistence that Raymond cooked up and executed the scheme on his own?What does that say about Raymond?"I'm not going to get into that," Drachler replied.Neither is Drachler's boss, Rep. Perzel. My attempts over several days to speak with him by phone wentnowhere.We do, however, know from Rep. John Barley, a player in House Republican affairs and a big contributor to Harley's failed campaign, that the GOP chiefs did discuss Raymond's dirty trick and decided it's no bigdeal.