Arlen Specter's in a Bit of Hot Water

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Arlen Specter's in a Bit of Hot Water


These are not the best of days for Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

Not only does his good buddy and fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum continue to trail his Democrat opponent, Bob Casey Jr., in the polls. Specter also was forced to acknowledge last week that the FBI is investigating whether one of his aides illegally helped her lobbyist husband get federal money for his clients.

Specter provided The Associated Press with a letter the FBI sent to his office in August stating staff member Vicki Siegel Herson is under investigation for allegations that first surfaced in a USA Today report in February.

According to USA Today, Specter helped direct $48.7 million in spending over the past five years to clients of Michael Herson. At the time, Vicki Siegel Herson was Specter's legislative assistant for appropriations.

Specter has said the institutions that ultimately got the money were represented by people not associated with Herson. The senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee has denied violating Senate ethics rules.

DON'T FORGET TO REGISTER.Political candidates should always remember to register every conceivable Internet domain containing their names and the offices they are seeking.

Just ask Republican U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood of Lackawanna County.

Sherwood gained notoriety last year when reports surfaced police had investigated a 2004 altercation in his Washington apartment between the congressman and his mistress, Cynthia Ore.

Criminal charges were never filed, but Ore later filed a lawsuit - - eventually settled for an undisclosed sum -- alleging that Sherwood had choked her.

Sherwood's dwindling number of supporters in his race against Democrat Chris Carney might go to the www.sherwoodforcongress.com Web site thinking they would find information on how to contribute to the campaign.

Nope. The domain name was registered by an anonymous Carney supporter.

It contains a link to the police report filed in connection with the Ore incident -- facetiously dubbed "the final back rub." Another link will take you to Ore's entry on the Wikipedia Internet open- source encyclopedia.

Yet another link lets you rate Ore's appearance on the Hot or Not Internet site.

The anti-Sherwood site also contains a "Kid's Corner," which states:

"Hey kids, Don Sherwood is an awesome role model. He is a powerful guy in Washington, D.C., where power makes it totally OK to hurt people sometimes. It's true. Ask your parents."

In retrospect, Sherwood probably wishes he had made the effort to purchase the sherwoodforcongress name before someone else did.

BIG BLACKTOP DROP. Pittsburgh's street paving program appears to be a bit on the selective side.

Eyebrows were raised in Stanton Heights, for example, when one of the few thoroughfares in that neighborhood recently resurfaced was Fairfield Street.

Among Fairfield Street's residents is a woman named Ruth Zober. If the Zober name seems to ring a bell, it's probably because Yarone Zober, her son, is Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's newly appointed chief of staff.

Just down the street from Ruth Zober lives Bill Klimovich. He happens to be the assistant director of environmental services in the city public works department -- you know, the department that oversees the street resurfacing program.

We're fairly sure Fairfield badly needed repaving, and we're equally certain Zober and Klimovich living on the street had absolutely nothing to do with it being resurfaced. …

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