PA House GOP Leader Offers Gov’t Reform Plan

Pennsylvania House Republican leader Sam Smith unveiled a 12-point government reform plan which he calls Pennsylvania’s Agenda for Trust in Harrisburg (PATH).

The proposals are:

  1. No staff allowed to campaign during office hours.
  2. Public officials cannot start nonprofit organizations while in office.
  3.  Dollar one reporting of campaign contributions, lobby disclosure and ethics statements.
  4. State grant accountability.
  5. Searchable database for all state spending.
  6. General Assembly audits by independent auditors.
  7. Strengthening whistleblower protections.
  8. End Pay-to-Play mentality in Pennsylvania by enacting state contracting reform:
  9. Banning public official from simultaneously working for a lobbyist firm.
  10. Create an Ethical Code of Conduct for executive branch.
  11. Strengthen the state Sunshine Law.
  12. Limits on state contractors ability to use non-public information for their own gain.

As a package, these reforms seem quite strong, and would be a huge improvement in “business as usual” in Harrisburg.

While I’m not overly excited about additional campaign finance reporting requirements (in fact, I’d be concerned that making every single campaign donation public information would lead to political and social intimidation against donors), some of the other reforms are among those we have recommended. 

We have called for a spending database previously, and ending Pay-to-Play and independent audit of the General Assembly should also rank among the top priorities for government reform.