Manns Choice, PA — Conservative Republican Art Halvorson may yet bring the Shuster family’s scandal-ridden, 44-year political dynasty to an end.
Halvorson made history this year by becoming the first Tea Party-backed candidate in the country to receive enough write-in votes from Democrats during the primary to qualify for the general election. Halvorson will now battle Congressman Bill Shuster again in the fall.
Shuster squeaked past Halvorson on the GOP ballot by only one percentage point (one vote per precinct), despite having a war chest of $3 million and the advantage of “dark money” from Washington, D.C. Super PACs. Shuster outspent Halvorson 15-to-1.
“I’m deeply humbled by the coming together of voters in both parties for the critical, common goal of rescuing America from the corrupt career politicians who’ve betrayed our conservative values and sold us up the river to corporate lobbyists,” Halvorson said.
Shuster’s father, Bud, was elected to Congress in 1972. He resigned in 2001 after a three-year investigation by a House ethics panel led to an official rebuke for “serious official misconduct” and “significant violations” of ethics rules surrounding his inappropriate relationship with transportation lobbyist Ann Eppard.
As reported by ABC News, “The committee found Shuster engaged in a ‘pattern and practice’ of allowing his former top aide Ann M. Eppard — who lobbies for companies with business before the transportation panel — to appear before him in his official capacity in the year after her resignation from his staff. This ‘created the appearance that his official decisions might have been improperly affected.’”
The committee also found that Shuster improperly:
Spent $700,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses.
Spent $300,000 on “political meetings” that were actually jaunts with Eppard to posh restaurants.
Dispatched his taxpayer-funded congressional staff to work on his political campaigns, in clear violation of rules against using taxpayer resources for politics.
Had lobbyists pay for trips with his family to Puerto Rico.
After Bud Shuster’s abrupt resignation, GOP powerbrokers in the 9th Congressional District controversially installed his son, Bill, as the GOP nominee in a special election.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Cong. Bill Shuster has repeatedly come under scrutiny for ethical misconduct surrounding his inappropriate relationship with a senior transportation lobbyist, Shelly Rubino. Shuster tried to ramrod legislation through Congress that would have given control of air traffic to the conglomerate of corporations his girlfriend lobbies for. Those corporations’ political action committees have given Shuster’s campaign over $100,000.
National Review, a leading conservative journal, described the bill as creating a “congressionally sanctioned monopoly with an unfettered ability to raise user fees on those who travel.” The legislation included a loophole exempting corporate aircraft from user fees, thus making Main Street once again pay more for Wall Street.
Shuster was caught partying at a posh resort in South Beach with Rubino and her colleague, Nick Calio, just a few days after Calio appeared before Shuster’s committee to advocate for the bill. At no point did Shuster recuse himself from proceedings on the legislation, despite his obvious conflicts of interest.
Halvorson believes the incestuous relationship between career politicians and corporate lobbyists is why America has dangerously lax immigration policies, unsecured borders, nearly $20 trillion of debt, a hopelessly confusing and unfair tax code, and lopsided trade deals that have crippled the middle class by sending good-paying jobs to China and elsewhere.
According to the campaign finance monitoring website Open Secrets, only 1% of the $3 million Shuster has raised in the current campaign cycle has came from small donors, while the rest almost exclusively has come from deep-pocketed special interests.
This, Halvorson believes, explains why Shuster’s voting record “is so badly out of step with his constituents’ values.” Some of the lowlights of Shuster’s legacy:
Voting for the infamous Wall Street Bailout of 2008 (H.R. 1424, #681);
Voting for every lopsided foreign trade deal since he took office, including Obamatrade, which will send many more good-paying middle-class sustaining jobs overseas (H.R. 1314, #362)
Voting for re-authorization and funding of the Export-Import Bank, which shovels Middle America’s hard-earned tax dollars to corporate welfare for global businesses (H.R. 597, #576);
Eliminating safety inspections for small passenger vessels in the Virgin Islands, over the adamant objections of the U.S. Coast Guard, which netted Shuster $33,000 in campaign contributions from the charter industry.
Voting in 2014 for the so-called Cromnibus that created a blank check for Pres. Obama’s amnesty initiative and fully funded Planned Parenthood and Obama Care (H.R. 83, #563)
Not surprisingly, America’s leading conservative watchdog groups – Heritage Action, Conservative Review and Club for Growth – give Shuster low marks for the 2015-2016 session (50%, 49%, and 48%, respectively).
“The sources of his campaign funding, coupled with the voting record, clearly illustrates that Bill Shuster’s top priority isn’t lower taxes and good-paying jobs for central Pennsylvanians,” Halvorson said. “Like most career politicians, Shuster represents the lobbyists that bankroll his re-election.”
Halvorson bears an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, and he is “Recommended” by Firearms Owners Against Crime, as well as the pro-life group LIFEPAC. His “Rescue America” platform includes:
Term limits on Congress
Defunding and repealing Obama Care
Deporting illegal aliens and abolishing amnesty
A timeout on immigration from countries that export radical Islamic terrorism
Defunding Planned Parenthood
A Balanced Budget Amendment
Replacing so-called free trade deals with fair trade for America’s steel, coal, auto, rail, timber and manufacturing sectors.
Halvorson is, and will remain, registered as a Republican. “But make no mistake about it, our current struggle isn’t Democrat vs. Republican, it’s Insiders vs. We the People.”
If victorious, Halvorson will serve under a self-imposed term limit, and he will refuse the lucrative congressional pension.
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Art Halvorson is a highly decorated Coast Guard veteran, businessman, and conservative champion of traditional values. Halvorson joined the Coast Guard at age 17 to help protect the country he loves and keep it free. During his 29 years of distinguished service, he was a search-and-rescue pilot and base commanding officer. Mr. Halvorson earned the prestigious Legion of Merit award for leadership after he helped re-organize the Coast Guard in the aftermath of the 9-11 Terror Attack.
Halvorson has been deeply committed to philanthropic projects. He is a member of the Gideon’s International, the National Rifle Association, and Crossroads Bible Church. He has also served as president of Officers’ Christian Fellowship.
He and his wife of 38 years, Paula, have six children and nine grandchildren. The Halvorson’s have also been foster parents and provided shelter to distressed single mothers.They reside on their homestead farm in Manns Choice, Pennsylvania.