Why Does The Mercury Refuse to Investigate the Political Spending Activity of a Current Pottstown School Board Member?
POTTSTOWN, PA – In 2011, a sitting Pottstown School Board member spent $15,662 on election activities that directly affects the board he currently serves on and The Mercury will not report on his behavior. In 2011 The Mercury was paid $8,655 in advertising revenue by the same current school board member through a political action committee the board member created and 100% personally funded.
In the first six months of 2011, The Mercury received advertising revenue totaling $8,655 from Pottstown Citizens for Responsible Government, a registered political action committee created in 2007 by current Pottstown School Board member Thomas Hylton. Hylton and his wife Frances (a retired Pottstown School District elementary teacher) have personally financed the PAC to the amount of $60,138 since its creation. The PAC was created to influence local elections in Pottstown.
In December of 2008, Hylton met with Nancy March (current editor of The Mercury) and the paper began publishing advertorials on its opinion page paid for by and promoting the Pottstown Citizens PAC. Since this arrangement in 2008, Hylton has spent $25,766 on 78 Mercury advertorials and 2 advertising supplements.
The most recent chairperson of Hylton’s PAC was Dennis Wausnock. Wausnock is also a current member of the Pottstown School Board (having recently been re-elected in November of 2011). One month prior to the 2011 primary elections, Hylton removed all references to Wausnock from the Pottstown Citizens website. According to the Montgomery County Office of Voter Services (where the PAC is registered), all PACs must have both a chairperson and treasurer for contributions to be received or expenditures made. In 2011, the Pottstown Citizens PAC spent $15,662 on political activities (focusing exclusively on the Pottstown School Board election races in May and November – while Hylton and Wausnock were sitting board members). Without a chairperson, Hylton is operating an illegal PAC and therefore should not be receiving contributions nor creating expenditures.
The Mercury will not report on this issue, as they have financially benefited from Hylton’s PAC. Since the PAC’s advertising partnership with The Mercury in December of 2008, the paper has received advertising revenue in the amount of $25,766. Hylton was employed at The Mercury for 22 years, retiring in 1994. While employed at The Mercury, Hylton was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1990. He was elected to the Pottstown School Board in 2009.
Shortly after Hylton was elected to office in 2009, SavePottstown!! was launched to track and expose the underhanded political monetary activities of Hylton.