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DePasquale, Maher Take Lumps for Double-Dipping

Eugene DePasquale (D-York) and John Maher (R-Allegheny) have two things in common. Both are running for the office Pa. Auditor General, and both are running unopposed for re-election to their seats in the State House. One good government group is crying foul.

“Holding one public office while running for another provides a taxpayer subsidy of the incumbents’ political campaigns,” said Tim Potts, President of Democracy Rising. “This is not what voters want. By 87 percent to 12 percent, voters want to require elected officials to resign from their current office as soon as they decide to seek a different office.”

“The alternative of holding special elections apart from regularly scheduled election days is expensive. Costs are hard to estimate but a ballpark estimate is $100,000 to $150,000 per seat,” he added.

Potts cites a poll conducted at the behest of his organization by pollster Terry Madonna. The December 2011 survey of 504 voters show that they indeed support such a rule, 86.5 percent to 11.6 percent. The full poll results, including a number of other questions of ethics in government, are available here (pdf).

There are three candidates in the race for Pa. Auditor General: DePasquale, Maher, and former Pa. Community Bankers CEO, Republican Frank Pinto. If DePasquale or Maher wins the office, since each is unopposed for State Rep., a special election will be necessary.

Pinto was highly critical of both candidates over the issue.

“It shows the culture of arrogance that exists in Harrisburg,” he said. “How could these guys be counted on to watch over taxpayer money as Auditor General when they’re willing to wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on special elections?”

He noted that candidates for special elections are chosen by “party bosses” and not voters.

Both DePasquale and Maher downplay the significance of their dual candidacies.

Maher said Potts’ proposed rule, that a candidate resign his or her current office as soon as he or she decides to seek another, is unconstitutional as well as impractical.

“Tim Potts apparently prefers the certainty of two additional special elections this year for the House to the chance of a single one next year,” he told PoliticsPA. “I do not recall Potts expressing this concern when Onorato and Wagner were campaigning to be governor, but perhaps I missed it. In any case, his unconstitutional proposal would require considerable legislative effort to advance. I prefer to devote such energy towards reducing the size of the House.”

DePasquale declined to comment for the story, but he addressed the issue recently in an interview with the York Daily Record:

According to DePasquale, he’s received one communication in the past year from a constituent about the issue of running for two offices simultaneously. By contrast, he’s heard from three constituents about the issue of legally owning boa constrictors.

“People said they didn’t want to lose me if I didn’t win the auditor general’s race,” DePasquale said.

13 Responses

  1. Karen said: “it’s about common sense! It doesn’t seem practical for the taxpayers to pay for him to campaign for TWO offices.”

    Since they’re both unopposed for their current offices, they’re only really campaigning for one office. You don’t have to do much campaigning if you have no opponent.

    Taylor said: “Bottom line, I don’t care what kind of car he is driving – He is GETTING PAID by YOU a taxpayer to run for two offices”

    Again, they may be running for two offices, but they’re only campaigning for one. I fail to see how this harms anyone.

  2. I think its interesting that people are quick to tell others to give up there Job to run for office. If we followed this logic, government would shut down every other year!
    John Maher has done a tremendous job in the House and would make an even better Auditor General.
    PS John Maher has NEVER had a state car and pays for his own expences!

  3. Im surprised Corbett doesn’t get them indicted. are they doing anything that DeWeese and Veon did not do? Well I guess that gives Potts something to talk about.

  4. John P – Bottom line, I don’t care what kind of car he is driving – He is GETTING PAID by YOU a taxpayer to run for two offices. Obviously, you don’t mind the waste in our government.

  5. We did complain about Onorato and Corbett, especially Corbett. It didn’t get much attention because we didn’t have polling data to support the position. That data didn’t exist until December.

    The reason we especially disliked Corbett was that PA now has an elected attorney general precisely because voters amended the Constitution to prevent the governor from being able to appoint the attorney general. By becoming governor, Corbett did exactly what the voters did not want him to do. Had he resigned, the previous Democratic governor would have appointed the replacement with the consent of the majority Republican Senate.

    Mr. Maher may be correct that “resign-to-run” is unconstitutional, but it doesn’t have to be. All that’s required is an amendment to the section of the Constitution that provides for qualifications for office. I guess he won’t be proposing that one, despite what the overwhelming majority of voters want. No one seems to care what the majority of voters wants.

  6. Both have their defined benefit pensions funded and guaranteed by The Forgotten Taxpayer who works, saves and invests to pay these people.

    What are their plans to address the PSERS and SERS funding liabilities or isn’t that their job?

  7. I love how John Maher says that it would be “unconstitutional and impractical” to expect for him to only be running for one office at a time…. It’s not about the constitution, John – it’s about common sense! It doesn’t seem practical for the taxpayers to pay for him to campaign for TWO offices. I am sick of these career politicians cheating people of their taxpayer dollars. Out of principle, Pinto is my man.

  8. Are you kidding me Taylor… Eugene don’t use the State Car he uses his personnal car. For that matter I don’t think he has a State Car. Go the his web site and look at the van he drives. I have seen him in western Pa. in this family van. Get your story straight before you start talking.

  9. Are you kidding me??! This is exactly what is wrong with government today. Maher and Depasquale are running around the state campaigning with their state car while getting paid their salary from the taxpayers. Isn’t that at least a $100,000 EACH that they are sticking the taxpayers ? The idea of a special election is ridiculous. Seriously, this is a joke and an insult to the intelligence of the people.

  10. So I guess Mr. Potts only wants rich people to run for office. The reason we pay elected officials is to they don’t take bribes and can focus on their job as an elected official. If you have to quit your job to run for something else most of the people that have never held office are the only ones that for office. I’m sure that sounds good to some, but think about a bunch of people that don’t have a real clue about government being in charge of it.

  11. typical republican whine, odd we didnt’ hear any complaints when candidates in their party do the samething over and over again. they are authorities on party bosses picking candidates though.

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