Harrisburg, Pa – Pennsylvanian Attorney General Josh Shapiro publicly endorsed George Hartwick’s re-election bid for Dauphin County commissioner in May of 2019.
Nine months later Shapiro has now been tasked with investigating Hartwick’s alleged drunken joyride in a County vehicle, and a bar fight that occurred the same evening in February 2020. The intersecting roles of the elected officials has set the stage for a conflict of interest with the State Attorney General.
Dauphin County residents have already expressed concerns that Hartwick will again get special treatment, as this is not his first drunken episode, nor the first misuse of County resources by the commissioner.
Citizens are questioning why Hartwick wasn’t charged with DUI in this circumstance, as well as no repercussions in numerous other episodes of violence and DUI in recent years.
Swatara Township Police Chief Reider said he is satisfied with his officers’ handling of the alleged DUI. Reider explained that because no one had observed Hartwick driving into the parking lot at 7-11, there was no cause to initiate a driving under the influence investigation.
“The police would have treated any similarly situated person in the same way as Hartwick. The police cannot and should not treat Hartwick differently because he is a public official,” Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo concluded in a letter to Swatara Police Chief Darrell Reider, in which he summarized the review conducted by Deputy District Attorney Kelly Callihan.
Video surveillance footage might answer whether Hartwick drove to the store that night. If he did, then prosecutors would have to make the determination whether that footage, coupled with the descriptions of Hartwick’s condition, would be enough to make a case that he drove while under the influence.
During the election campaign, his opponent recorded video of campaign signs in the back of Hartwick’s county-provided vehicle and of Hartwick placing those signs along a road in upper Dauphin County.
“It appears to me that car is actually a campaign car more so than a county-funded vehicle for county purposes,” said Tom Connolly, who is a Swatara Township commissioner.
Also, a campaign commercial that Hartwick posted to social media was shot in his county office, and has since been taken down.
Soon after the scandal was blatantly ignored by Dauphin County officials, Pa Attorney General Josh Shapiro publicly endorsed Hartwick.
In the aftermath of the recent alleged DUI and misuse of County resources, a Dauphin County Republican Committeeperson has called for Hartwick’s resignation.