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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM E. BALDWIN LEO T. FORBIDUSSI MARSHALL FRUMER DONALD F. HEGGENSTALLER (04/08/82)

decided: April 8, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, PETITIONER
v.
WILLIAM E. BALDWIN; LEO T. FORBIDUSSI; MARSHALL FRUMER; DONALD F. HEGGENSTALLER, SR.; EDWARD MANHERZ; CATHERINE MASUR; JOHN T. MICHAELS; ANN L. MOSS; CLEOPATRA NELSON; JULIUS RUSSELL; ANN SOCIE; EDWARD THOMPSON; BRUCE E. WAUGH, RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Ethics Commission v. William E. Baldwin; Leo T. Forbidussi; Marshall Frumer; Donald F. Heggenstaller, Sr.; Edward Manherz; Catherine Masur; John T. Michaels; Ann L. Moss; Cleopatra Nelson; Julius Russell; Ann Socie; Edward Thompson; Bruce E. Waugh.

COUNSEL

Sandra S. Christianson, General Counsel, with her James J. Kutz, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for petitioner.

Stuart J. Magdule, Adler, Nicholson, Claraval & Magdule, for respondent, William E. Baldwin.

James H. Stewart, Jr., Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, for respondents, Leo T. Forbidussi, Catherine Masur and Edward Thompson.

Michael A. Etkin, for respondent, Marshall Frumer.

Bruce Manchester, for respondent, Donald F. Heggenstaller, Sr.

Anthony J. Vardaro, for respondent, Julius Russell.

David C. Raker, for respondent, Bruce E. Waugh.

Judge Blatt. Memorandum Opinion and Order by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 42]

The State Ethics Commission (Commission) challenges nomination petitions filed by 12 prospective candidates for the offices of state senator and state representative*fn1 on the grounds that affidavits submitted

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 43]

    with those petitions attesting that the candidate had filed financial interest statements with the Commission were false.

A hearing was held in this matter on March 26, 1982 at which the following respondents appeared either in person or through their respective attorneys: Respondent Baldwin; Respondent Forbidussi; Respondent Frumer; Respondent Heggenstaller; Respondent Manherz; Respondent Masur; Respondent Michaels; Respondent Moss; Respondent Russell; Respondent Thompson; and Respondent Waugh. Respondent Nelson, despite having received personal notice of these proceedings, was not herself present at the hearing, nor was she represented by counsel.

Under Section 4(b) of the Public Officials Ethics Act (Ethics Act), Act of October 14, 1978, P.L. 883, 65 P.S. ยง 404(b), candidates for nomination for public office must file statements of financial interest with the Commission prior to filing their nomination petitions with the Bureau of Elections of the Department of State, and such nomination petitions may not be accepted unless they are accompanied by affidavits attesting that the financial interest statements have been

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

    filed with the Commission.*fn2 Failure to file such a statement prior to filing the affidavit required with the nomination petition would clearly invalidate the affidavit and also, consequently, the nomination petition, thereby requiring that the candidate's name be removed from the ballot. Appeal of Robert C. Barlip, 59 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 178, 428 A.2d 1058 (1981); see In re Petition of Cianfrani, 467 Pa. 491, 359 A.2d 383 (1976).

At the hearing in this case, the Commission introduced evidence establishing that, while all of the respondents had filed their nomination petitions and accompanying affidavits with the Bureau of Elections on or before the deadline for such filings on March 9, 1982, the Commission had actually not received a statement of financial interest from any of them prior to or on that date.

The respondents argue generally that the Commission has neither standing nor statutory authority to bring this action and that it had made an invalid adjudication here in its holding that the respondents had violated the Ethics Act without affording them due process as required under its own ...


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