Former Erie County Councilman Ebert “Bill” Beeman, who was convicted and sentenced to jail on federal Social Security fraud charges, is running for Congress.
Pennsylvania Department of State records confirm that Beeman, 69, is on the ballot as a Libertarian Party candidate for Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District seat.
He joins incumbent Republican Mike Kelly, 70, of Butler, who currently represents the 3rd Congressional District, and 62-year-old Democrat Ron DiNicola, of Erie, on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election.
There is nothing in the U.S.Constitution that prohibits a convicted felon from running for Congress. However, a felony conviction would disqualify a candidate from holding many local, county and statewide offices under the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Candidates for Congress in Pennsylvania must be a resident of the state, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years and at least 25 years old.
Beeman was also required to gather 1,485 signatures for his nominating petitions to be placed on the ballot and submit those papers by the Aug. 1 deadline, according to Pennsylvania Department of State guidelines.
As a third-party candidate, Beeman could gather signatures from registered voters regardless of party.
Department of State records list Beeman as a resident of the city of Erie. Beeman on Monday declined comment.
Beeman formerly represented County Council’s 6th District, which includes most of southern Erie County. He was a registered Republican during his time on County Council.
Beeman pleaded guilty in federal court in Erie in March 2012 to charges he used a fake Social Security number to apply for two credit cards and two jobs between 2007 and 2010. In July 2012, Beeman was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
Beeman has outlined his priorities, if elected, for the U.S. House of Representatives.
On the campaign page www.facebook.com/EbertBeemanforCongress, Beeman “pledges he will work to end crony capitalism, eliminate the federal income tax, shut down the NSA, the TSA and end mass surveillance, end the failed drug prohibition, downsize the military, localize education, fully restore the right of self-defense, expand health freedom to make it affordable, safe, and effective, replace privileged government pensions with Social Security, impose term limits, replace government meddling in money with marketplace discipline, never expand big government and require government financial transparency.”
Kelly was first elected in 2010 to represent what was then the 3rd Congressional District, which covers Armstrong, Butler and Mercer counties, most of Crawford County, and portions of Erie, Clarion and Lawrence counties.
Earlier this year, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the existing congressional lines in 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts – including the 3rd District – were in violation of the state constitution and gerrymandered by majority Republican lawmakers when they were drawn in 2011 to favor the GOP.
The court issued its own map after Republicans failed to come to an agreement on new lines with Gov. Tom Wolf and state Democrats. The new map puts all of Erie County in the 16th District, as well as Crawford, Mercer and Lawrence counties and part of Butler County.
Erie County also is no longer split between the 3rd and 5th Districts. The latter district is represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson.
This article provided by NewsEdge.