Rampant hypocrisy is nothing new for the Commonwealth Foundation. In fact, PA Spotlight has pointed their hypocrisy out time and time and time again. That’s why we are not surprised by the latest moves from the Commonwealth Foundation to not only distance themselves from their past support of redistricting reform in Pennsylvania, but to completely go 180 degrees in the opposite direction and advocate against it.
You see, back when the Commonwealth Foundation thought there was little chance of redistricting reform coming to fruition, they were happy to attach their name to the Fair Districts PA coalition, a group of organizations spanning the spectrum of political ideology, to call for fairer process in the way we draw districts. They did this to reap the rewards of good press and continue building the illusion they were a “non-partisan” organization.
Of course, as serious efforts began to build and a legal case was made against the unconstitutional practice of gerrymandering, the Commonwealth Foundation became uneasy about their association with good government and a fair political process. On March 23, 2017, the Commonwealth Foundation sent a memo to the Fair Districts PA coalition and, strangely, Republican leaders Mike Turzai, Joe Scarnati, Jake Corman, and Dave Reed. In this nakedly partisan move, they claimed that recent comments from members of the coalition made them rethink their support.
Hypocritically, they said the reason they supported the coalition was because fairly drawn districts would produce the type of legislation they supported. They stressed it was because of issues, not partisanship. Nevermind the fact that current Mike Turzai’s campaign consultant Jeff Coleman is a fellow at the Commonwealth Foundation.
That’s why it makes it all the more hypocritical and shameless that the Commonwealth Foundation now finds itself actively advocating against the redistricting proposal they once supposedly backed. If passing policy was the reason they supported redistricting reform, what changed? The answer is simple: the political winds have shifted. Political prognosticators and pundits now believe a fairer process for drawing congressional districts would likely produce the election of more Democrats.
In addition, since they signed on to the Fair Districts coalition, former Commonwealth Foundation CEO Matt Brouillette has also launched a new venture that will raise money for candidates running for office. It’s likely the Commonwealth Foundation’s deep ties to current gubernatorial candidate Mike Turzai and other Republicans poses a huge problem for their former CEO’s new, expressly political goals.
The Commonwealth Foundation’s unbridled hypocrisy and brazen partisanship is becoming a common feature in Pennsylvania and the case against their legally questionable “non-profit” status is becoming more and more apparent. They can claim independence until they are blue – or more likely red – in the face, but the truth is that as their motives become clearer, so too, does the Commonwealth Foundation’s true colors.