HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate John Fetterman came under fire Thursday morning after the Associated Press (AP) published a review of his daily schedule during the four years he served as lieutenant governor.
The AP review of Fetterman’s daily calendars and attendance records claimed he kept a light work schedule and was often absent from state business throughout his term. The documents also suggested Fetterman’s schedule was blank during roughly one-third of workdays from January 2019 to May this year.
The review has sparked numerous responses from Fetterman along with his campaign, political rivals and state leaders.
The Fetterman campaign also rebuked the AP by providing what they called a detailed background of his responsibilities and accomplishments as lieutenant governor. The campaign also expanded on Fetterman’s schedule and provided explanations for his specific absences.
Following the release of the review, Fetterman and members of his campaign criticized the AP saying their report was an inaccurate representation of the Senate candidates’ time in office.
“This report is a misleading and inaccurate reflection of John’s actual schedule that totally fails to capture the breadth of his official work and his accomplishments on behalf of Pennsylvanians as Lieutenant Governor,” Fetterman Campaign Spokesman Joe Calvello said.
Fetterman defended his time as lieutenant governor, saying he made an impact on the state by helping transform the office and by growing support for many causes.
“As Mayor of Braddock for four terms and now as Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, I’ve shown I can have an impact beyond the prescribed power of a given office,” Fetterman said. “As Lieutenant Governor, my record of showing up and shaking up this office has transformed the Board of Pardons, saved Pennsylvania millions in taxpayer dollars, and grown support in our state for defending LGBTQIA+ rights, weed legalization, union workers, and raising the minimum wage.”
State Leaders Show Support
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and State Senator Tony Williams also defended Fetterman’s time in office by releasing the following statements.
John is a dedicated public servant who has supported my priorities over the past four years. The lieutenant governor’s office has limited responsibilities but he has taken significant actions in office, including a 67-county tour to explore legalization of adult recreational use marijuana and by committing to criminal justice reform by reforming the pardons process. In just two examples of his character as a public servant, he was one of the first public officials on scene at the Fern Hollow bridge collapse and he also joined me when two state troopers were killed in Philadelphia to personally meet their troop at their barracks to offer condolences.Statement from Governor Tom Wolf
John has gone above and beyond in terms of expanding the role of the Lt. Governor and really transforming what this office can be. He’s also been present across the state by visiting all 67 counties to meet with Pennsylvanians since taking office. In the State Senate, John has always been there when we’ve needed him and when it has actually mattered for the past four years.Statement from State Senator Anthony ‘Tony’ Williams
Oz Comments on Twitter
U.S. Senate rival and Republican Candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz took to Twitter where he commented on the AP review in a video saying Fetterman “has been a no-show his whole life” and only showed up for parole meetings to “let murders out on our streets.”
Fetterman fired back at the heart surgeon turned TV doctor on the social media platform saying he was “not going to be lectured about “showing up.” He then called out Oz for just showing up in Pennsylvania last year to run for office, not visiting all 67 counties in the state and traveling to California Thursday to help raise money for billionaires.
Oz replied to Fetterman by asking him “Did you just wake up?” The Republican candidate continued by suggesting Fetterman do “more yoga in the morning” and to “Ask John Brookins if there are spots in his prison class.”
In March 2021, Fetterman, who serves on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, posted a series of Tweets about Brookins who is serving a life sentence after he was charged with stabbing and killing a 58-year-old Bucks County woman in December 1990. Fetterman argued Brookins has a perfect 30-year prison conduct record and said the county DA refuses to run a DNA test on the murder weapon that could potentially prove Brookins’ innocence.
In another statement from the Communications Director for the Dr. Oz for Senate campaign, Brittany Yanick said Fetterman is a freeloader who will likely have to move back in with his parents.
“Freeloading John Fetterman skipped work one-third of the time as Mayor of Braddock. He skipped one-third of the work days as Lieutenant Governor. When he does show up, he works half a day and then goes back to his basement. Now he’s not showing up to debates, lying about his health, and hiding from the press,” Yanick said. “John Fetterman wants a massive tax increase on working class Pennsylvanians, but barely works himself and didn’t pay his taxes 67 times. John Fetterman will probably have to move back in with his parents if being a Senator doesn’t work out for him.”
Fetterman Campaign Details Achievements & Schedule
Fetterman’s campaign released what they say is a detailed background of the lieutenant governor’s duties and schedule throughout his term and time as mayor of Braddock.
The following was provided to WTAJ from the Offical Campaign of John Fetterman for U.S. Senate.
Background, attributable to the Fetterman campaign:
- The official duties of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor also include chairing the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, where Fetterman has a 100% attendance record and where he “has worked to transform the tiny agency into a bigger tool in a criminal justice reform movement.”
- Fetterman also took on other official duties, like for instance Governor Wolf appointing Fetterman to chair a statewide COVID response task force for health disparity and having Fetterman lead a 67-county statewide conversation with town-hall style sessions on marijuana legalization.
- Fetterman was the first Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor to decline living in the taxpayer-funded Lieutenant Governor’s mansion. Fetterman’s decision not to live in the LG’s mansion saved Pennsylvania taxpayers an estimated $400,000 per year.
- John also underspent his LG office’s budget by $776,000 for his first two years in office, using PA’s taxpayer dollars responsibly.
Detailed background on John’s schedule:
- Lt. Governor:
- In Spring 2020, much of PA including Fetterman’s home county and the county where the state capitol is located was under restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. After Allegheny County and Dauphin County returned to green phase status on June 19, Fetterman returned to presiding in the State Senate. As a result, Fetterman did not attend 20 meetings during this period.
- Fetterman was unable to attend a number of Senate sessions due to conflicts with Board of Pardons meetings. Those minutes are here.
- In 2020, Fetterman missed 3 Senate sessions due to a conflict with BOP meetings.
- In 2021, Fetterman missed 4 Senate sessions due to a conflict with BOP meetings and at least 3 other sessions due to conflicting official business and jury duty.
- Braddock Mayoral:
- As mayor of Braddock, Fetterman stopped attending Braddock borough council meetings for a period of time because council members had made clear they had no intention of working with him.
- In 2006, Fetterman’s first year as mayor, the borough council essentially sidelined him. Fetterman said early in his tenure that the borough council had blocked him from participating in borough matters in an attempt to “make him a one-term mayor and shut him down.”
- Instead, he developed working relationships with county officials and local nonprofits to push his priorities.
- He was re-elected in Braddock three times and served four terms before being elected Lt. Governor.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.