Unfortunately, spokesmen for the Governor’s Office, House Republicans, and Senate Republicans defend Pennsylvania, as not being “the worst”. While it is true that a lot of other states have had some corruption problems, here is some of Pennsylvania’s recent dirty laundry:
- PA Senate investigating Gov. Rendell and Lionsgate for violation of (weak) state lobbyist law.
- Attorney General’s Office investigating House Democrats (and possibly other caucuses) for illegally awarding taxpayer-funded bonuses to staffers for campaign work.
- 100+ count indictment against Senator Vince Fumo for a variety of misusing taxpayer funds.
- Corruption and Nepotism at the Turnpike Commission, including ties to Sen. Fumo
- Vince Fumo crafting legislation to expand the Turnpike Commission, which passed much as did the pay raise of 2005.
- Former Senate GOP staffer Mike Long lobbying for the Turnpike Commission, and though legally barred from lobbying the Senate, still serves on the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
- Representative Mark Cohen’s book binge.
- Use of “public service ads”
- Taxpayer-funds being used to lobby for more taxpayer funds, and for more power and authority.
- Bonuses at PHEAA
- PHEAA’s legal fees to avoid open records.
- Two Rendell cabinet members awarding taxpayer funds to companies with financial ties to their spouses, then being confirmed by the Senate.
As Tim Potts frequently points out, there has only been one reform law passed since the pay raise – the weak lobbyist disclusure law. So despite ending session at 11 and using the internet to post legislation and video (welcome to the 1990s) and though the Senate is still working on that Open Records bill (if only they had worked as long on Act 44), Pennsylvania has to be pretty low – if not rock bottom – when it comes to cleaning up state government.
I will concede the point to Ardo, Arneson, and Miskin; we may not have the most corrupt state government. Just a pretty awful one.