GOP leader under scrutiny over alleged false signatures

Inside the federal building in Pittsburgh, it will be a hearing on contested petitions for State House District 9.  It all stems from the Lawrence County GOP chair allegedly falsifying signatures to get a candidate on the ballot.

Channel 11 knocked and there was no answer at Lynne Ryan’s home in New Castle. She’s the Lawrence County GOP Chair accused of falsifying signatures on potential State House candidate Bill Messner’s petition.

“If these allegations are true and correct this is really appalling,” Tim Buck, the Lawrence County Democratic Party Chair, said.

We brought the evidence straight to the county’s Democratic Chair who was shocked as they both are trained to do this process for elections.

“There’s a way to do this, it’s explained to us, you must follow the rules and if you don’t have integrity or moral compass. Then maybe you shouldn’t be doing this because people put trust in you to do this. If these allegations are true and correct then something needs to be done about it simple as that,” Buck said.

The documents filed this week in court are being contested at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh next Friday, but what happens there? Channel 11 asked the University of Pittsburgh political associate professor Kristin Kanthak.

“I expect there won’t be criminal charges, but there could be. It is a crime to knowingly submit invalid signatures and one can go to jail for it,” Kanthak said.

Kanthak told Channel 11 it’s hard to prove the intent for criminal charges as it’s easy to make mistakes on these petitions, but she said this is a leader of a party and should be held accountable.

“In general, if you have party leaders who are engaging in fraud that’s something the party would want to step in and stop. The party absolutely has enough power to take a position away from someone,” Kanthak said.

Channel 11 called and emailed the Pennsylvania GOP Chair to ask the question of what happens to Ryan and her position in Lawrence County, but did not hear back.

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