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Politics & Government

Flaherty Calls out Wagner in Campaign Filing in Auditor Race

The campaign office of Mark Patrick Flaherty has fired the first shot in the 2015 Allegheny County Controller’s race.  Flaherty, who was unseated from the post in 2011 by now County Controller Chelsa Wagner, says the incumbent left key data off her most recently campaign filing.

In specific, Flaherty says Wagner did not file home and work addresses for several of the individuals who donated to Wagner’s campaign more than the state reporting threshold of $250.

“Chelsa Wagner decided she was going to file reports with no occupation and employer information on any of her donors,” said Mike Mikus, Flaherty campaign spokesperson.  “It is a clear attempt at making the process more opaque.”

In response, Wagner’s campaign manager Sadie Restivo blamed the lack of donor information on a clerical error.  “We will be submitting an amended report that will be filed at the county by the close of business today (Tuesday).”

However, Mikus did not stop there.

“It’s disappointing that Chelsa Wagner feels that she is above the law and that she does not have to comply with the reporting requirements,” Mikus said.

“It's just an error in the spreadsheets that did not get fully printed and turned in,” Restivo said.  “It’s just an unfortunate error.”

“Controller Wagner constantly tries to portray herself as a champion of transparency while here she has been caught red handed trying to be anything but transparent,” said Mikus who believes Wagner should explain herself to the residents of Allegheny County.

Wagner has been a relentless watchdog of the spending of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and several county authorities.  Her office has questioned the use of county-owned vehicles, free ticket distribution by the Sports and Exhibition Authority, and the allocation of Visit Pittsburgh’s budget to bolster a fund used by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto when he went on the TV show Undercover Boss.

Restivo said she had no comment on “any issue pertaining to the authorities or audits [done] by her (Wagner) in her official capacity” but did say Wagner was not trying to hide any information.

UPDATED:

A spokesperson fro County Controller Chelsa Wagner says the campaign submitted an amended campaign finance report Tuesday at 3:26pm. At the same time a statement attributed to the candidate was release.

"This is a feeble attempt to distract voters from real issues that impact our residents.  I'll continue to work to ensure that Allegheny County is served by a Controller who is a watchdog, not someone else's lapdog."