Tag Archives: Ryan Costello

ACLU of PA to Congressman: Stop Shutting Out Your Constituents

ACLU, March 12, 2018 [elevator version: Can a political officeholder legally obstruct criticism by banning constituents from speaking their views in his public meetings and social media?]

PHILADELPHIA – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania delivered a letter to Congressman Ryan Costello today urging him to stop blocking constituents who disagree with him from his official Facebook page and to cease denying them entry to his public town hall meetings. Writing on behalf of nine constituents from the 6th congressional district who have protested or criticized the congressman, the ACLU of Pennsylvania warned Costello that blocking residents from his social media pages and his community meetings based on their opposing views is prohibited by the First Amendment.

“In our democratic form of government, an elected official represents all of his constituents–even those who disagree with him,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We commend Congressman Costello for creating forums for his constituents to express their views, but he does not have the right to pick and choose which viewpoints he gets to hear.”

The constituents who have been blocked by Costello have expressed their opinions to him on a wide range of issues, including net neutrality, the environment, his support of President Trump, and his unwillingness to condemn racist, alt-right rhetoric. Most of the constituents named in the ACLU’s letter have been prohibited from commenting on Costello’s Facebook page, and at least three were denied admission to his town hall meetings, including one in Wyomissing, Berks County, where there were empty seats.

The letter from the ACLU cites Supreme Court precedent explaining that the First Amendment prohibits public officials from censoring speech based on the viewpoint expressed. The ACLU has offered Costello the opportunity to take corrective action but has also left open the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the congressman.

“Our clients simply want to be heard by their elected representative in Congress, and to have the same access to the congressman’s social media pages and events as his other constituents,” said Molly Tack-Hooper, staff attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “It’s unconstitutional for a member of Congress to censor, block, and exclude his critics.”

The residents cited in the letter are represented by Tack-Hooper, Witold J. Walczak, and Michelin Cahill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Professor Seth F. Kreimer of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The letter that was sent to Costello is available at aclupa.org/Costello.

Conflicting accounts cloud incident at Costello home

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times of Chester County, Jan 18th, 2018

After a local Congressman took to social media over the weekend to allege that two individuals from his opponent’s campaign trespassed at his home, harassed his wife and took pictures — an account in complete variance with that of the individuals involved, it remains unclear exactly what, if anything, occurred on Jan. 13 in a normally quite West Goshen neighborhood.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello took to Facebook Saturday evening to say his wife, Christine, a former top staffer for former state Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, had been harassed by two individuals at their West Goshen home….

Read on with many details, which converge to show the event in question was really part of a routine canvass by Planned Parenthood, at The Times of Chester County

Coal for Costello

Letter from Martin McElroy, East Whiteland, in Daily Local News, 1/8/18

Congressman Ryan Costello has a miserly way of wishing a Merry Christmas to middle-class Americans. The Republicans delivered a 1.5 trillion dollar lump of coal to the middle class and Republicans like Costello are doing their best to put the prettiest bow on it as they try to sell it to their skeptical constituents.

Costello wanted an even larger lump of coal for us this Christmas when he voted for the House version of the tax bill. The Senate bill only softened the imminent body blow to the middle class. Either way, Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud.

Wealthy donors have been investing tens of millions in Republican candidates for years. Unlike Costello, a few honest GOP members of Congress even admitted their wealthy donors were demanding a tax windfall under their Christmas trees this year – or else! Without massive paybacks, their big donors will cut off the cash flow and give their Republican minions lumps of coal to fund next year’s election cycle.

The most scandalous example of donor payback is the reduction in the estate tax that lavishes the richest of the rich with a tax dodge worth billions $. Worse, the bill Costello originally supported would have repealed the tax in a few years. Again and again, the PA-6 Republican proves to be a high-yield investment for the elite at the expense of ordinary citizens….

keep reading at Daily Local News