Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Trump invites GOP senators to White House lunch

A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Sarah Anne Hughes
December 24, 2020
A White House invitation, help for businesses, closing the budget gap, a rural COVID-19 surge, the start of Kwanzaa, and vaccine questions answered. Break out the holly, it's Christmas Eve. We'll be back Monday.
CHALLENGE EXTENDED: We need to raise $5,000 by Dec. 31 to unlock a $5,000 matching gift! Become a member now and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Let's do this!

As he seeks to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results in the courts, President Donald Trump invited Republican members of the GOP-controlled state Senate to a Wednesday lunch at the White House.

It's unclear how many lawmakers actually attended, but the top Republican in the chamber, Jake Corman Centre County, did not, Spotlight PA reports.

The lunch came shortly after Corman announced that he will push a measure to create a special committee to “conduct an exhaustive review” of all aspects of last month’s election.

“Far too many residents of Pennsylvania are questioning the validity of their votes or have doubt that the process was conducted fairly, securely, and produced accurate results,” he said in a statement.

THE CONTEXT: Trump’s Department of Justice as well as state and county officials have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud that would alter the election’s results.

Still, as they cast doubt on the election’s integrity, Republicans in the state House directed a bipartisan committee to audit the voting system. The panel rejected the assignment.

There is a review of the November election underway to verify that the original vote tally was correct and there were no errors in the state’s declaration of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report.

It's called a risk-limiting audit, and it involves a manual, statistical review of a random sample of ballots. At least 64 counties plan to participate.


"I think it sends a message to government agencies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country [that] if you ignore your basic duties under these open record laws, there are severe sanctions that can follow."

— Michael Joyce, an attorney who represented the Herald-Standard, on a state Supreme Court ruling requiring the Department of Corrections to pay the newspaper's legal fees in a public-records case

POST IT: Thanks, Robert K., for a snowy shot of the Great Allegheny Passage bridge at Ohiopyle State Park. Send us your hidden gems (or your snow photos!), use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
HELP FOR BUSINESSES: Gov. Tom Wolf wants to make $145 million from a special workers' compensation fund available to businesses in the form of grants, PennLive reports. The plan requires the support of the Republican-controlled legislature. 

CLOSING THE GAP: While the coronavirus aid package approved by Congress doesn't provide funds to state and local governments, the Senate Republican in charge of the budget told The Morning Call taxes from it can still help close an estimated $4 billion revenue gap. Roughly $350 million to $450 million could go to PennDOT, which nearly had to shut down a number of projects earlier this month because of a lack of funding.

RURAL SURGE: After being spared in the spring, rural Pennsylvania counties have been hit hard by the most recent COVID-19 surge. The Inquirer talked to health-care workers, funeral directors, and residents who are on the front lines of the crisis.

PROBABLE CAUSE PLUS: The state Supreme Court ruled this week that police need probable cause as well as “exigent circumstances” to search a vehicle without a warrant, the Associated Press reports. As Spotlight PA previously reported with The Appeal, state troopers often claim that a driver was nervous, sweating, or eating to justify traffic searches.

NO RIGHT TO KNOW: The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has filed a lawsuit claiming it should not be covered by the state's Right-to-Know Law, TribLIVE reports. For the past 12 years, the PIAA has been considered a state-affiliated entity covered by the public records statute. But now, after “frivolous” and “obscene" requests, it says that definition is wrong.
ALL GIFTS MATCHED DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR: Spotlight PA members Jim Friedlich and Melissa Stern have generously increased their challenge grant to $5,000. If we can raise that amount by Dec. 31, they'll DOUBLE it.

Help put us over the top right now and become a member today. Contributions of any amount go directly to our essential public-service journalism. Thank you to all who have contributed so far! 
HOLIDAY SEASON: Kwanzaa begins this Saturday. If you're not familiar, here are eight facts you need to know. And if you're planning to celebrate that or another holiday this week, Zoom has dropped its 40-minute limit for free users so you can spend even more time with your loved ones.

WHERE TO WORSHIP: As some Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate Christmas, churches across the state are debating whether to hold in-person services as COVID-19 surges. Some parishes are taking reservations, while others have gone online-only.

QUESTIONS, ANSWERED: Thousands of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have already been distributed in Pennsylvania, but that's really just the beginning. The Inquirer answers the most pressing questions about people have, including when the general public will get access, how effective it is, and more.

10 YEARS LATER: It's been a decade since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," a policy that barred openly LGBTQ people from serving in the military. Former Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy, an Iraq veteran who led the repeal charge, said he witnessed his peers being forced to hide a part of themselves, which "goes against the very core of their personal integrity."

NOT DREAMING: Not to get too excited, but it looks like parts of the state may actually have a white Christmas. Sadly, the chances of snow get worse the further east you travel.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Love the scrambler? Make a donation to help us end 2020 strong.

Yesterday's answer: Solstice 

Congrats to our daily winners: Art W., Beth T., George S., Joel S., Irene R., Susan D., Margaret D., Craig W., Chris W., Kim C., John C., Tish M., John H., Mary Ellen T., Kathleen L., Dianne K., Chris M., Ron P., David I., Carol D., Karen W., Jeffery S., Patricia R., and Jarrod B.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
225 Market St., Suite 502A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, which has combined with Spotlight PA to create Pennsylvania's largest statewide newsroom dedicated to accountability journalism.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.