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11/22 Ups & Downs

Roads and bridges are getting long awaited funding, allegations of campaign finance malfeasance are hurled and more. Check out this week’s Ups & Downs.

Up ArrowTom Corbett. After months of waiting, a week full of late night voting and hours of debate, the General Assembly passed a bill to provide more than $2.3 billion to funding transportation, a long-time priority for Governor Corbett’s administration. The bill includes funding for public transportation and infrastructure. It’s the biggest legislative win of his term thus far.

Down ArrowVaughn Spencer. The Mayor of Reading got himself into some hot water this week thanks to what appears to be illicit funneling of campaign money for a Philadelphia labor union. According to an investigation by the Berks County Board of Elections, Spencer’s campaign accepted $30,000 from IBEW Local 98 on Nov. 4, 2011. The same day, he turned around and gave $10,000 each to the Philadelphia City Council campaigns of Bill Rubin and William Green. The report was referred to the County DA.

Up ArrowWomen for Congress. Erin McClelland, Democratic candidate for PA-12, received four endorsements in Lawrence County. Campaign and fundraising superpower Emily’s List put Shaugnessy Naughton on track for an official endorsement in her race for the PA-8 nomination. Valerie Arkoosh’s campaign for the PA-13 nomination uploaded a new web video.

Down ArrowPenn State Board of Trustees. Senators Yudichak and Corman co-sponsored legislation to drastically reform the governance of Penn State, including a cut in the number of Trustees and dictating how the seats will be allocated.


Up ArrowChristine Toretti. The RNC committeewoman was praised as one of the most influential campaigners in the country by Campaigns & Elections Magazine. The magazine released a feature that identified the top 50 “influencers” in today’s national politics. They selected 10 individuals in five distinct categories: Communicators, Disruptors, Campaigners, Enforcers and Activists.

GIF of the week: State Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong). The sponsor of the House was heckled during his closing remarks before Thursday’s vote. How did he handle it? Like a boss.

Jeff Pyle drops the mic

Here’s the video:

Tweet of the week: Rep. Pam DeLissio for one of the best hashtags we’ve seen in a long time and the competition this week was fierce.

4 Responses

  1. Dear MONTCO Chair and State Senator Mike Vereb, COS Gromis-Baker and Christine Toretti: My New Year’s Eve is open. Can I get an invitation, please, to Senator Vereb’s infamous New Year’s Eve Harrisburg bash. I hear it’s where SEPA GOP Cavemen, well, party like Cavemen. I’ll even bring my own protection and some swing SEPA soccer moms.

  2. I give a BIG UP ARROW to SIGNOR FERRARI, who re-entered the arena last week. He’s back this week with another hum-dinger of a blog post: Following the resignation of Bob Kerns as Montgomery County Republican Chair, the GOP power brokers of the Philadelphia suburbs have announced that State Representative Mike Vereb will be their party’s new leader (Philadelphia Inquirer 11/17/13).

    There was a time when this news would raise nary an eyebrow in Harrisburg, but that was before the bonusgate investigations. Investigations that led to Vereb himself to call for a special, new “public integrity commission.” ( 7/26/10)

    We are very curious as to how Vereb will shoulder the tremendous number of new political campaign responsibilities. Vereb said it himself just a few days ago — “It’s a busy job.” (Philadelphia Inquirer 11/13/15) We don’t doubt him for a second. Montgomery County is ground zero for swing voters in statewide elections. Governor Tom Corbett will need things to go well here if he has any hope of being re-elected. Plus, the Philadelphia suburbs are prime territory for state legislative pick-ups for the Democratic caucuses next year. It is a big, busy job indeed.

    Yet, how will Vereb find the time to do all this extra work without breaking the law a la bonusgate?

    In addition to his responsibilities to the taxpayers and his constituents as a state legislator, Vereb is also the House Majority Caucus Secretary. Vereb has been very clear about the importance and the time commitment required of the position:

    “As caucus secretary, Mike is responsible for helping to establish a legislative agenda and recording all official legislative activities in the House of Representatives.” ( Bio)

    In fact, when Vereb was first elected caucus secretary he outlined just how busy his new job would be:

    “Vereb said because he had been elevated to a leadership post he would lose his committee assignments on the judiciary, insurance and gambling oversight committees. He will be spending more time in Harrisburg during the legislative session because the secretary has additional duties.” (Times Herald 11/11/11)

    Oh, and for his extra responsibilities and effort, Vereb gets paid $8,000 more dollars a year on top off his $83,000 base state legislative salary.

    We’re wondering how will he do it? How will Vereb give the taxpayers their money’s worth? How is this guy going to steer the most important county for Pennsylvania’s Republican Party while at the same time give an honest days work to the taxpayers who elected him – and who pay him a big, fat paycheck, along with gold-plated health and pension benefits?

    Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman should keep a sharp look-out to track Vereb’s operation and his use of perks. Will he be using his taxpayer funded vehicle for tooling around the county on Republican Party business? Who will monitor how much political campaign work his taxpayer funded staff in both Harrisburg and Montgomery County may end up doing – even “after hours.”

    As we’ve all seen, even after bonusgate, elected officials including State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin still used taxpayer resources for campaign purposes. Even after the scandals from 2008 and 2009, state legislators like J.P Miranda still hire ghost employees. For Vereb to say he is different just won’t cut it.

  3. Does the Tom Corbett Administration need a 2014 “Warren Commission” to determine the fate of Penn State DA Ray Gricar’s fate????

  4. In light of the JFK ASSASSINATION ANNIVERSARY AND ALL CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: Don’t we need a Ray Gricar conspiracy theory? Why has Tom Corbett let the search for Ray Gricar’s body go stone cold? Shouldn’t acting Governor Brabender donate some of the proceeds of his many Corbett elections into a reward fund to lead the solution of the Gricar disappearance.demise? Cyril Wecht weighs in on Gricar:

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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