When then-candidate Scott Wagner alleged back-room dealing by state GOP honchos to fill a vacant state Senate seat, it resonated.

Voters have a hard enough time with normal election-season noise without some would-be kingmakers intentionally muddying the waters.

They're rightly suspicious of what's going on behind the curtain. What exactly is it they're not supposed to see?

Voters should know at least a few things before making decisions: Who the candidates are, what they stand for, what issues they consider most important and what they intend to do about them if elected.

An electorate also deserves to know who's working on a candidate's behalf, what that person or organization stands for, and what that supporter is doing to influence the election.

Why would that information be hidden anyway?

The obvious answer is that the "support" might actually hurt the candidate if the voters found out.

Take Wagner's allegation, for instance.

It went like this: Even though he's a Republican, Wagner was a thorn in the party's side. So party officials convinced state Sen. Mike Waugh to retire a few months before his term ended, prompting a special election for which they could select the Republican nominee. That nominee supposedly would have an incumbent's edge in the May primary and November general election.

The message was the Republican Party didn't trust voters to make the "right" choice, so it pulled some strings.


Everyone from the official nominee, state Rep. Ron Miller, on up the Republican food chain denied it, but the allegation rang true with some voters.

Wagner made history by trouncing Miller and Democrat Linda Small with a write-in campaign.

Karma, boy it's something.

So it's surprising the same group that publicly helped Wagner upset the GOP apple cart now feels the need to hide its support of other Republican candidates in York County and around the state.

The Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, or CAP, is a group that wants to replace incumbents with conservative, business-minded leaders who don't consider politics a lifelong career. Wagner is a member, and his election was the group's first big score.

CAP's long-term goal, according to executive director Leo Knepper, is to get 15 senators and 55 members of the state House elected – yet he refuses to say which York County candidates were part of the movement. (Four have stepped forward on their own).

That's because of expected resistance from "folks in the General Assembly who like things the way they are," he said.

Does Knepper mean the same power brokers who, if one believes Wagner, so botched a conspiracy to deny him a Senate seat?


Or maybe the group doesn't "trust" voters to elect its candidates if given the whole picture.

CAP has a laudable list of "don'ts" – its candidates agree not to take a state pension, pay raises, or per diems and perks, for instance – that voters are sure to like.

But its platform is on shakier ground when it comes to its "to do list."

The group's pro-business goals include making Pennsylvania a right-to-work state, "paycheck protection" so people aren't "forced" to pay union dues, reducing business regulations, and mitigating the influences of organized labor and "overzealous" trial attorneys, Knepper said.

Can CAP sell that to the average, working-class stiff concerned about his or her pay, work-place injuries, education, social services or environmental protection?

Maybe it could.

But voters sure as heck deserve to know that's what they're buying.