Monday, January 22, 2007

PA Newbies: Silly Taxpayers

State legislators elected on a wave of political reform turn backs on the public, the taxpayers, and take the state-funded cars... Who among them promised otherwise - a different style of public service? Yep, we believed em back then too...

--Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Fayette; 2004 Dodge Durango; $439

But hey, he showed up at a special meeting of a local School Board in the style to which he quickly became accustomed. Meanwhile, according to the Tribune-Review

PA lawmaker posts expenses on his website

But Mahoney doesn't think lawmakers should be required to file online expense reports... go figure how that comports with Mahoney's publicly championing the cause of open records and gaining massive publicity and support from local newspapers and the PA Newspaper Publishers Association...

Pa. lawmaker posts expenses on his Web site ()
By Brad Bumsted
Thursday, January 25, 2007

HARRRISBURG -- In a groundbreaking move, a freshman Democratic House member from York is posting summaries of his legislative expense accounts on his Web site.
Legislative reformers say this should set an example for other lawmakers. It occurs as a special House panel examines an array of potential legislative reforms, and as lawmakers tout bills to strengthen the open records law.

Saying he has "nothing to hide," Rep. Eugene DePasquale, a Pittsburgh native, this week began posting a categorical summary of his expenses on his legislative Web site. He plans to recommend his approach to the House reform commission next week...

Lawmakers have expense accounts they can use on a wide array of items -- from a $148 flat payment a day for food and lodging while on legislative business, to state-paid auto leases, district office expenses, flags, trinkets, photographs, and dinners courtesy of the taxpayers.

Another freshman, Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Uniontown, who is proposing a strong open-records law for the state, doesn't think lawmakers should be required to file online expense reports.

"Everything you spend? No. It's too much to pick apart," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said he favors having each legislator post the total amount he or she spends annually. "I think taxpayers want to know that," Mahoney said.

A few years ago, Mahoney's predecessor, former Rep. Larry Roberts, D-Uniontown, briefly posted a House document on his Web page summarizing his year-end expenses, but parts of the report were confusing and it did not clearly show what was spent. The House refused to provide the reports for all lawmakers.

Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Big Beaver, said he'd look into it and isn't opposed to making such reports available online.

"We are asking all members to post their expenses on their Web sites," said Harrisburg activist Gene Stilp, a former House staffer and legislative critic who thinks such monthly postings should be required.

"This is part of the reform message that needs to get out there," Stilp said.

What Pa. freshmen legislators drive
By The Associated Press
Friday, January 19, 2007

A list compiled by The Philadelphia Inquirer of the state-subsidized vehicles that freshmen members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly drive and the monthly cost to taxpayers:...

Mahoney to face Mikita in 51st

Internet finds not necessarily an endorsement of views expressed therein

Update: Rep.-Elect says he didn't vote for leader H. William DeWeese

Mahoney believes new legislators will make impact
By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard

Just days after spearheading a stand by incoming freshmen Democratic state legislators, Timothy S. Mahoney said he's confident changes will be made in the way state government runs.

Speaking before a taping of HSTV's "Behind the Headlines" on Friday morning, Mahoney, representative-elect for the 51st Legislative District, said he believes the 50 new state legislators heading the Harrisburg next year will make a positive impact on state government.

"I think in two years we will see a dramatic change in the way we do business in Harrisburg," Mahoney said.

Less than a week ago, Mahoney was in a Harrisburg room with the 25 other newly elected Democratic freshmen legislators and the party leaders. He said after hearing "rhetoric" from the incumbents, he decided, "enough is enough" and asked his fellow freshmen to meet with him privately.

Mahoney said the group discussed the fact they were all delivered to Harrisburg on a sea of change that stemmed from the 2 a.m. pay raise last year, and they then decided to interview all the potential leadership candidates prior to the Tuesday vote.

Mahoney said interviews were held for those seeking the positions of party leader and whip, and caucus secretary, administrator and appropriations chair.

"They all showed up," Mahoney said. He said the group let them speak for three minutes and then asked three questions.

During the interview process, which Mahoney said lasted longer than three hours, each of the candidates were asked questions about their willingness to support Open Records reform, tax reform and parity of funding for legislators' district offices. He said everyone who was interviewed made commitments to those efforts.

"We needed to do that (stick together), it's the only way to make a difference," Mahoney said. "I'm not a radical, I'm somebody trying to make a difference."

Although 30-year incumbent state Rep. H. William DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, faced a challenge from state Rep. Tom Tangretti, a Westmoreland County Democrat, for the Democratic leadership position, DeWeese won handily. Mahoney said when DeWeese received the 51 votes he needed, Tangretti graciously conceded and let the vote be unanimous.

However, Mahoney said he told DeWeese afterward that he did not cast a vote for him. Mahoney said he believes DeWeese, who was one of the strongest supporters of the pay raise vote before finally voting to rescind it, realizes things must change in Harrisburg.

"I think he's starting to see the light. People want change," Mahoney said of DeWeese, who lost the vote in Greene County to Republican Greg Hopkins but won because of support from the portions of Fayette and Washington counties in his district.

"I think he (DeWeese) loves his job more than he loves anything in the world and I think he is willing to do anything to change to keep his job," Mahoney said. "I think he is going to turn around. I think the vote in Greene County woke him up."

Mahoney vowed to work towards getting Open Records and tax reform for Pennsylvanians in the next two years. He said he is aware that to cause any real change, he will need the support of some Republicans. "You have to cross that aisle," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said his initial impression of changing Harrisburg was not a good one. "Before I stood up in that room, I was discouraged," he said. "But once you shake a cat out of a tree, that cat's going to think twice about going back up that tree. We have a big freshman class."

In addition to the 26 Democrats, there are 22 Republican freshmen legislators.

Mahoney expressed an interest to join a reform group started last year by Democrat incumbents Tangretti and Kathy Manderino, who represents part of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties.

Mahoney vowed to introduce legislation within the first week regarding Open Records reform, and said he wants to work toward tax reform by eliminating property taxes. He said prior attempts at tax reform have been nothing but smoke and mirrors...


Mahoney also addressed the "smear campaign" waged against him prior to the election. He said letters that were sent out against his family and friends were dirty politics. He said he has been in eight types of businesses and politics is the dirtiest business of all.

"You're fighting a shadow you can't get to," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said since he got involved in politics, he's being investigated by numerous agencies, including the attorney general and ethics commission. He said they were all political and he's been cleared in every one.

Mahoney said he has met every goal he ever set, including becoming a state representative. He said he won't stop til he gets changes in the open records law and the property tax system.

remember the debacle of the 2005 state of PA pay-raise grab by incumbent legislators?

Some are betting you've forgotten. Some candidates, newcomers, are even accepting campaign finance monies from pay-grabbers.

On the local fronts, now that the campaign reports of candidates are in and being written up in articles around the state, let's follow the M(ah)oney and track who is donating to whom and whether or not state legislators donating to campaigns of newcomers took the controversial Pennsylvania 2005 legislative pay raises and unvouchered expenses.

Mahoney outspending Mikita 10-1 By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard


Campaign spending for the two men seeking to be the next state representative for the 51st District varied greatly during the last month, with Democratic candidate Timothy S. Mahoney outspending Republican candidate John "Sonny" Mikita tenfold.

According to campaign finance reports, for the reporting cycle referred to as the second Friday pre-election, Mahoney outspent Mikita $35,718.92 to $3,504.50. The reporting cycle covers the time period from late September through late October...


During the most recent filing cycle, Mahoney received contributions of $50,900, while Mikita received contributions of $3,500.

When the reporting period began, neither man had much of a carry-over balance. While "The Committee to elect John Mikita" had a zero balance brought forward for his report, Mahoney's campaign committee, "The Friends of Tim Mahoney," brought forward $465.92 and Tim Mahoney as an individual brought forward a negative balance of $31,860.55. Mikita did not file a separate report as an individual.

For the most recent reporting cycle, among Mahoney's biggest private contributors were Thomas W. Gerke of Uniontown, Sean Sypolt of Fayette City and Rick Vernon of Uniontown, who each contributed $500. Mahoney received $9,125 from private individuals, most of whom donated either $100 or $250.

Mahoney received $10,600 from political committees, in the category of contributions over $250. From those contributions, Mahoney received $1,000 from the (state Sen. J. Barry) Stout Election Committee of Eighty Four and $2,000 from the (state Sen. Vincent) Fumo for Senate committee of Philadelphia. The (state Rep. David) Levdansky for Legislature Committee and the (U.S. Rep. John) Murtha for Congress Committee of Johnstown each contributed $500 to Mahoney's campaign.

Mikita received $1,450 from individual contributors who gave more than $50 but up to $250 in the most recent reporting cycle. Mikita's largest single personal contribution was a $200 donation from Mark A. and Patricia A. Altman of Uniontown.

Mikita received $550 from political action committees in the amount of more than $50 but up to $250. In those contributions, he received a $250 donation from the Friends of (State Rep.) Mike Turzai committee...


51st District candidates call for positive House leadership

By Chris Foreman
Saturday, November 4, 2006

Two self-employed businessmen are matched in the race to succeed the departing seven-term representative in the 51st House District in Fayette County.
In the spring, Democrats chose a former county jury commissioner, Tim Mahoney, as their nominee in a district where Democratic voter registration more than doubles Republicans.

The GOP selected John "Sonny" Mikita III, a former Brownsville Area School Board director who ran under the PACleanSweep banner...

Excerpt continued

Mahoney, 49, of South Union Township, waged an aggressive campaign to win a three-way race for the Democratic nod.

In that campaign, he defeated a sitting county commissioner, Vincent Vicites, and vowed that he would not be a "puppet on a string" for House Minority Leader H. William DeWeese, D-Waynesburg.

This fall, Mahoney has continued to say he won't back DeWeese for a leadership position in Harrisburg.

"I'll support (DeWeese) as a Democrat, but I'll not support his leadership because I think they made mistakes, and they need to pay for their mistakes if elected," Mahoney said.

DeWeese was one of the architects of the controversial legislative pay raise that lawmakers scrapped after public outcries. He went on to vote for its repeal...


Which state legislators contributing to the campaigns took the pay raise and unvouchered expenses?

Contributing to Democratic candidate Timothy S. Mahoney

state Sen. Vincent Fumo
state Sen. J. Barry Stout

Contributing to Republican candidate John "Sonny" Mikita


Which ones voted "no" on the pay raise and did not accept unvouchered expenses?

Contributing to Democratic candidate Timothy S. Mahoney

state Rep. David Levdansky

Contributing to Republican candidate John "Sonny" Mikita

State Rep. Mike Turzai

OK so if "they made mistakes" why accept monies from those who made the mistake of voting yea on the pay raise and unvouchered expense accounts?

21 legislators who voted no to pay raise accept it
10 other lawmakers decline extra cash
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

By Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Twenty-one Pennsylvania lawmakers who voted against the pay raise package for elected state officials last month have nevertheless decided to start collecting the raises. Among them are eight local legislators.

rock the capital guides:'%20Guide%209_26_06.pdf

Information about Harhai at odds with P-G info

Unvouchered Expenses Hall of Shame

Note: Voice Pac list references 1995 votes

Info on candidates in Primary races

Fumo voted for the pay raise and accepted the unvouchered expenses, now he's a "reformer" and accepted by "reformist" organizations. Sure, we believe he's reformed...

Early Returns P-G tracking

Fumo joining with Common Cause of PA on "reforms"


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