Romney attacked by grassroots for police escort

The South Carolina Citizens for Tax Reform sent out the following email to approximately 10,000 activists:

From: Jason Swanson [mailto:sctaxpayers@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 4:02 PM
To:
Subject: Petition for Romney to Return Tax Dollars

South Carolina Taxpayer:

Today former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney used taxpayer funded police escorts to speed him to various campaign events in our state.  Needless to say this is a waste of taxpayer dollars for any South Carolinian who does not support Romney’s campaign and he should apologize to all of us.

We have put together the "Return South Carolina Tax Dollars" petition to urge Mitt Romney to reimburse in-full the costs from this trip and apologize to the taxpayers of South Carolina for using our tax dollars and breaking our laws.  This reminds us all of the fake police troopers he used on his campaign in the past.

Please send an email to SCtaxpayers@gmail.com to add your name to the petition and please include your full name and address.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Attached news stories after the jump

Associated Press: Romney Uses Police Escort In S. Carolina

By Jim Davenport

 

SALUDA, S.C. (AP) _ The motorcade of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exceeded speed limits and went through stop lights Friday as local law officers escorted him, blue lights flashing, to campaign events in two South Carolina counties.

 

Traffic pulled over for Romney’s caravan as Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth, a Romney supporter, led the candidate’s motor home and staff cars with his blue lights running from the Aiken County line through Saluda County to the Newberry city limits, according to an Associated Press reporter following the candidate.

 

The caravan traveled between 10 mph and 15 mph over posted speed limits.

 

”I wanted to make sure he stays safe and gets to where he’s going,” Booth told The Associated Press.

 

Asked whether it’s proper to use flashing police lights to escort a candidate, he said, ”I’m not getting into this with you, sir. I have no comment.” Booth, a former supporter of Arizona Sen. John McCain, switched to Romney in April.

 

Later in the day, Romney said his campaign requests that police turn their lights on only if there’s a public safety concern.

 

Streets in the town of Saluda were blocked off while the motorcade passed through. The escort disregarded traffic lights on those streets and at least one traffic light in the county.

 

A Newberry County deputy joined the caravan at the county line and used flashing lights for several miles until reaching city limits, the reporter observed.

 

Newberry County Sheriff’s Maj. Todd Johnson said that deputy’s escort was unplanned. Romney’s motorcade became lost and requested help finding the campaign stop, he said.

 

”They didn’t know exactly where they were going,” Johnson said. ”All he did was guide him to the event. He never activated blue lights other than to indicate that he would be the one leading.”

 

Romney had no police escort after leaving Newberry.

 

An off-duty Aiken County deputy had escorted Romney from his hotel room Friday morning to his event in Aiken, then to the county line, where Booth and another marked Saluda County sheriff’s car took over.

 

Aiken County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Michael Frank insisted his department’s deputy did not exceed the speed limit or go through red lights.

 

”We observe all posted speed limits and traffic signals unless it’s an emergency,” Frank said.

 

Romney’s campaign paid an off-duty Aiken County deputy $90 for the escort, he said.

 

That deputy used blue lights only while parked outside the event, not during the escort, Frank said.

 

He said Romney’s campaign is the first to hire the department for an escort this presidential season, but the department routinely makes off-duty deputies available for event security.

 

Tape reveals Romney aide’s alleged impersonation

http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/politicsBlog/?p=686

By Casey Ross

Boston Herald

June 22nd, 2007

An answering service recording reveals Romney aide Jay Garrity’s alleged impersonation of a police officer in a bizarre case that has led to a criminal investigation by state police.

On the tape, which is posted on the Fox25 news web site <http://www.myfoxboston.com/myfox/> , a man claiming to be "Trooper Garrity" can be heard calling the driver of a plumbing truck a "madman." The man also tells the answering service at Wayne’s Drains that he is going to arrest the driver for speeding, lane violations and operating erratically, the tape reveals.

When the answering service informs "Trooper Garrity" that it does not have a phone number for the driver’s supervisor, the "trooper" says, "OK, well, why don’t we do this. Why don’t you leave a message for that particular driver who’s driving the vehicle this day. I’m going to get the address of your company. I’m going to come down to the company, I’m going to personally issue this driver a citation for both speeding, driving erratic."

The man continues, "I was on the opposite side of retaining wall inside in Ted Williams Tunnel. I couldn’t get out quick enough to catch up to this driver, OK? Your driver is driving like a madman, and I’m going to put out a general broadcast on this vehicle."

Garrity’s lawyer has denied his client made the phone call. On the tape, "Trooper Garrity" plays out an elaborate skit during which he even speaks to "dispatch" while he’s on the phone with the answering service.

A manager for the plumbing company said the "trooper" appeared to be talking to himself over the radio as he coordinated efforts to find the driver of the truck and pull him over.

At then end of the tape, the "trooper" tells the answering service the plumbing truck has been pulled over in East Boston and that he’s asked for him to be held there until he arrives. It all wraps up tidier than a Lo-Jack commercial.