Former Erie County Councilman Ebert Beeman is returning to the political arena despite having a criminal record. Beeman is running for Congress in the 16th District as a member of the Libertarian Party.
Beeman had a colorful and tumultuous tenure on Erie County Council. He was known as a surefire no vote on most matters before council, especially those that had to do with spending money. He also was well-known for owing the IRS over two million dollars in back taxes, and the eight convictions he had for driving without a license.
But the issue that ended Beeman’s three-year career on county council, was his guilty plea in 2012 for Social Security fraud. He was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for using a false name to apply for a second Social Security card. According to the FBI, that second card was used to apply for two jobs, multiple credit cards, and an auto loan.
The conviction and jail sentence does not prohibit Beeman from running for Congress. Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, told Erie News Now, by telephone, that being convicted of a felony does not bar a person from running for federal office, or taking office if elected.
Brandon Magoon, the chairman of the Erie County Libertarian Party welcomes Beeman’s candidacy.
"We don't approve of what Mr. Beeman did, but it should be pointed out that there was no identifiable victim. Even the U.S. Attorney stipulated that,” he said.
Beeman will be making a formal announcement of his candidacy at a later date. He is also planning to participate in any debates that are scheduled between incumbent Congressman Mike Kelly and Democratic challenger Ron DiNicola. He says he will file a complaint before the federal elections commission if he is not included in the debates.