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In re Closure Decision of Malehorn

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

October 14, 2014

In Re: Closure Decision of Malehorn;
v.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation, Respondent Robert J. Frasconi, Petitioner

Publication Ordered January 7, 2015.

Page 817

Court of ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.

Robert J. Frasconi, Pro se.

Caroline A. Bailey, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

OPINION

Page 818

Keith B. Quigley, Senior Judge.

Currently pending in this Court is a dual jurisdiction petition for review in the nature of mandamus and an answer and new matter thereto. The new matter asserts that this action should be dismissed.

On July 9, 2014, Robert J. Frasconi (petitioner) filed the aforementioned pleading. The petition for review alleges that on May 6, 2014, pursuant to Section 1626(c) of the Election Code,[1] petitioner made an official e-mail voucher request to Trisha Malehorn (Malehorn), Manager, Division of Campaign Finance & Lobbying Disclosure, Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation (respondent). Specifically, petitioner sought the following: " The Friends of Tim Mahoney, 2013 Cycle 7; Date: 09/11/2013; Amount $2,652.56; Recipient: Grogan Graffam, P.C., Description of Expenditure: Professional Fees." (Exhibit A to petitioner's petition for review). That same date, Malehorn responded with a letter indicating that the request was received and that respondent anticipated a response from the committee within the next thirty days.

After thirty days passed, petitioner contacted Malehorn's assistant, via email, inquiring about the status of his voucher request. On June 10, 2014, petitioner received an e-mail response to his request. The response included two items: a copy of a cancelled check dated September 11, 2013 from the Friends of Tim Mahoney to Grogan Graffam, P.C. in the amount of $2,652.56; and an invoice from Grogan Graffam, P.C. to Friends of Tim Mahoney dated August 14, 2013 in the amount of $2,652.56. The response also included correspondence from Malehorn which stated:

Per your recent voucher request, please find the enclosed documentation given to us from the Friends of Tim Mahoney committee. This matter is now considered closed. Should you have any questions or need further assistance, you may contact Kristine Ream of my staff....

(Exhibit G to petitioner's petition for review).

Petitioner asserts that neither of the documents provided by the campaign committee is responsive to his request in that they are not a voucher . (Petitioner's petition for review, page 5). Citing Section 1626(c) of the Election Code, petitioner asks this Court to issue a writ of mandamus directing Malehorn to direct the candidate or political committee to promptly deliver the vouchers or copies thereof to the supervisory office for purposes of inspection and copying.

Page 819

With regard to this Court's appellate jurisdiction, petitioner asserts that Malehorn's " closure letter" of June 10, 2014 constitutes a final order of an administrative agency. Because he was aggrieved by this purported final order, petitioner requests that the " closure decision" be reversed. (Petitioner's petition for review at page 11).

Respondent filed an answer and new matter, asserting that both portions of petitioner's petition for review should be dismissed. In this regard, respondent contends: (1) the June 10, 2014 letter from Malehorn to petitioner is not an appealable adjudication; and (2) this Court considered and rejected a virtually identical mandamus request ...


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