Rep. Haggerty Fails to List Loan on Campaign Finance Report

DUNMORE -- Newswatch 16 has learned the state attorney general's office has been asked to review State Representative Kevin Haggerty's campaign finance reports.

In 2014, Kevin Haggerty of Dunmore was pitted against fellow Democrat and State Representative Frank Farina when the state combined their two districts into one.

An area businessman loaned Haggerty $5,000 for the campaign, but documents show that Haggerty did not report the loan for more than three years. His critics do not believe this was an oversight.

Grocer Rocco Riccardo of Dunmore wrote a $5,000 check to Haggerty just days before the 2014 Democratic primary. The money came from an account for Riccardo's grocery store. Such a loan appears to violate state campaign finance laws.

"It says, 'corporate checks are not allowed.' How hard is this?" said election law expert Larry Otter.

Attorney Larry Otter from Bucks County was the chief legal counsel in Pennsylvania to presidential candidate John Kasich during the 2016 presidential campaign. He is recognized as one of Pennsylvania's top experts on campaign finance rules.

Otter believes Haggerty may have committed a second law violation when his campaign failed to report the loan on several campaign filings in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The state representative amended these filings to include that loan on June 6, just one week after Riccardo filed a civil suit against Haggerty.

Haggerty's campaign paid back the loan last week, but Otter says the payback and the amended reports may not get him off the hook.

"The failure to report this for three years is very problematic," said Otter. "He quickly looked at his campaign finances books and went, 'Oh, I didn't report that, oh, I better do that now.'"

Representative Haggerty would not talk with us on camera. His lawyer says it is because Rocco Riccardo is suing Haggerty over that campaign loan.

Haggerty's lawyer responded, "This was simply an oversight on the part of the campaign. No one is infallible and sometimes mistakes occur. I would respectfully offer what is as important as noticing the mistake is the corrective action undertaken."

Joe Sabia is a U.S. Navy veteran and was a Haggerty critic during the last election. Sabia claimed Haggerty failed to be honest with voters about his service in the U.S. Marines and his discharge in 1997.

Sabia says the lawmaker is now failing to come clean about not listing the Riccardo loan for three years.

"Don't tell me he didn't know about it before and it suddenly came to light. This is like closing the barn door after the horse escaped," Sabia said. "I think he's backtracking to cover his steps."

Sabia says he told Haggerty in person about failing to list the loan last year, then mentioned it on this Facebook video in October which had 7,000 views.

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