Lebanon County Suing Democrat Gov. Wolf Over His Retaliatory Withholding of $13M in Federal Funding
Lebanon County, home of some of the strongest resistance to Gov. Tom Wolf’s draconian lockdown, is suing the governor for nearly $13 million in federal coronavirus relief funding that he withheld in retaliation for its resistance to his authoritarian lockdown actions.
The lawsuit is the latest challenge to Wolf’s emergency powers, which legislators have tried to challenge, but which have been upheld by Democrat-dominated courts,
Last May Lebanon County’s commissioners voted 2-1 to defy Wolf’s overbearing restrictions, and the governor had warned such a decision could jeopardize a county’s share of federal discretionary dollars for relief efforts.
Lebanon County is also the home district of Republican State Rep. Russ Diamond, who has been a leader in the fight against Wolf’s authoritarian orders.
“These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy in the middle of a war that we Pennsylvanians are winning — and that we must win,” Wolf said at the time.
The General Assembly later approved legislation, signed by Wolf, that divided $625 million among 60 Pennsylvania counties for coronavirus response. The state’s seven largest counties, including Allegheny and Philadelphia, received a total of $1 billion in aid directly from the federal government.
In a suit filed Wednesday in Commonwealth Court, Solicitor David Warner Jr. said Wolf’s “refusal” to release the $12.8 million appropriated to Lebanon County “effectively consolidates complete legislative power in the executive branch during a declared state of emergency” and “creates a de-facto king” in the governor.
In recent weeks, Wolf has repeatedly justified the decision, saying he provided ample warning to counties.
Lebanon County is the only county that has not received its share of federal dollars from the state. It was also the last to officially enter the least restrictive “green” phase of Wolf’s reopening plan.
Republican leaders in the General Assembly, furious over the governor’s decision, said Wolf has no authority to withhold the funding.