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Capitolwire: Ousted Dems Land Caucus Jobs

Outgoing Rep. Joe Brennan

Outgoing state Reps. Joe Brennan (D-Lehigh) and Ken Smith (D-Lackawanna) didn’t win new terms on election day but they’ll be coming back to Harrisburg for work anyway.

That’s because the House Democrats have hired each as caucus employees.

Brennan is presently facing charges of assaulting his wife and driving drunk; Smith is embroiled in a bankruptcy case.

Capitolwire first reported the hiring decision.

Brennan, who worked as a House researcher for over a decade, will be research analyst in the Legislative Policy and Research Office.

Smith will join the Office of Member Services and help newly elected lawmakers adjust. That group presumably will include Kevin Haggerty, the man who beat Smith in the April Democratic primary.

Both men will draw a slightly lower salary than they did as lawmakers, but will continue to build their pensions.

Brennan withdrew from his race in August after the charges had been announced. His Allentown district is safe for Democrats in most cases, but the party pressured him to pull out to avoid any chance of losing the seat. Dan McNeill, a former union leader and Whitehall Township commissioner, took his place on the ballot and won easily.

As Capitolwire notes both parties have hired outgoing and potentially disgraced former legislators to do caucus work.

9 Responses

  1. I am not a State Committee Member and I am not using a psuedonym and I believe that we ought to have learned that our entire party is damaged when this type of hiring is done.
    I also must state that this is not the State Committee who acts this way it is the Democratic Caucus.
    It is time that we understand who does what and the importance of our brand being trusted is above this type of political action.
    I hope I can be re-elected to State Committee but if not – I will have at least acted with honor while I was a member.

  2. This is the “old boys” network at its absolute worst. If the the State House Democratic Leadership, HDCC, and the PA Democratic Party thinks this kind of stuff is going to inspire us as Committeepeople to work hard and support these old boys in their network every time they run, they better think again.

  3. This is one liberal, PA D committeewoman and former candidate for the House who thinks this is more outrageousness from the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight. After reading the HDCC alibi for delivering up the House to a second consecutive election disaster last week, I’m not surprised. If Brennan had not been TJ Rooney’s predeceasor, it wouldn’t have happened for him.

    Oh, and Jack, Capitolwire also mentioned this, so it isn’t just a “liberal” thing: “In past practices, lawmakers who stepped down for the good of the party were awarded with their legislative salary and benefits, as was the case with former Rep. Joe Gladeck, R- Montgomery. Gladeck retired in 2000 after his girlfriend accused him of shoving her repeatedly. Police were called, but his girlfriend didn’t press charges. Gladeck dropped out of the race and was replaced on the ballot by current GOP Rep. Kate Harper. Shortly after, Gladeck was hired by the House Republican Caucus to consult on re-districting efforts.”

  4. With so many qualified people out there searching for jobs the House Dems decides that Joe Brennan a wife beating drunk is the best person for the position.


  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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