(Last updated July 16, 2015) – Pretty damning stuff. We always knew our system was for sale. We never expected that the prices and conversations about it were so cavalierly and openly discussed. Just skip to former Harrisburg Council member Richard House’s testimony, for a taste.
I sat a few rows behind Reed at his Senate testimony, when he was asked point blank about his use of a special projects fund created at The Harrisburg Authority during his tenure. His answer, and I quote, because it was so brazen: “What special fund?” The most profound part was that none of the PA Senators hearing that could give Reed any specific info about this fund to help him answer. Maybe that will change now.
And remember Sen Mike Folmer’s prescient quote, during those same hearings. Why no one else thought of it, and everyone has ignored it till now is a huge mystery. I don’t think anyone will be able to after Reed is given clarification of the special projects fund created at The Harrisburg Authority during his tenure.
Folmer: “For the $328 million of debt, there’s almost $50 million of consulting fees,” he said. “What were they (third-party professionals, who signed off on high-risk financing deals) consulting?”
The reason is the same reason the underlying problems are allowed to continue unchecked nationwide at all levels: We are too timid to call The Political Class to task.
Yes, kudos to the persistent voices that wouldn’t shut up, even when we all called him rude and disrespectful. It was really just honesty all along…they oft sound the same.
Nevertheless, I look for this to lead to no structural changes to prevent its recurrence. We’ll pretend it is an isolated incident, and blame Reed and as few as he can get away with fingering as possible. It is systemic, by both broken parties and at all levels of government.
The Political Class – those who fund, pull the strings and profit so unimaginably off each of these isolated incidences – will again escape unscathed. And good thing: it needs all its resources to begin greasing the next set of skids, for the next swindle.
And this may be the misstep that brings The Political Class at least to a public shaming. They almost never are; they hide themselves behind a wall of legal mumbo jumbo that makes their brazenly immoral action perfectly legal, or so council has advised.. But I hope this is the case where they stepped too far…or that we found enough songbirds who have to squeal. I don’t expect any of them to actually get punished like you or I would if we stole a box of Twinkies from Turkey Hill, but a little embarrassment is good comeuppance.
Timely, if not prescient: Mike Fleck rats out mayor Ed Pawlowski link between campaign contributions and Allentown city contractors.
Thank God these problems are finally, at too long last, beginning to be connected to their true sources:
For-profit political campaign financing.
We can have it, or we can have a functioning democratic republic. We can not have both.
I hope we are NOT thinking this is just a problem with Mayors, or with one of the only two teams allowed at the political table (which George Washington warned us not to allow). Just look at the many costs we bear to provide for those who can afford “$46.8 million spent lobbying Pennsylvania officials and $8.2 million contributed to Pennsylvania candidates and PACs.”
How is your elected official – you know, the one who in theory represents YOU – doing in the Great Oil & Gas Lobby Giveaway? Check, the list grows each campaign finance reporting cycle.
Campaign donors can and do exact unjust reward from those in every position at all levels of government, as a very few and I have documented for years…and as the lame stream media has largely if not totally ignored.