Earlier this week Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital provided a valuable service in shining a light on legislative practices that continue to defy the drive for reform born out of the response to the infamous midnight vote many legislators cast seven years ago to raise their own pay and boost their pensions.
Keystone Progress finds it inexcusable that too many legislators cling to old ways and claim per diem reimbursements without providing receipts or other documentation verifying expenses. However, we think one abuser of this system has earned a special mention.
Representative John Maher, a Republican from suburban Allegheny County, claimed $25,192 in per diem expense reimbursements making him the sixth biggest offender in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
The reason Mr. Maher has earned special mention is that he is the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania Auditor General. Potentially, it will be his job to audit state agencies, contractors and service providers who receive and spend taxpayer dollars for the good of the Commonwealth.
It is disconcerting to think that someone who wants to be the elected official charged with the responsibility to protect the Commonwealth's treasury has been a serial collector of expense reimbursements without fully disclosing how and why the expenses were incurred. Rep. Maher had a choice and could have followed a different path from the antiquated and cozy per diem practices designed to hide costs and inflate legislators' real income.
In light of the office he now seeks, Keystone Progress calls on Rep. Maher to provide details and documentation on the per diem expense reimbursements he has received in the last year and all expenses he may claim going forward.
Sign the petition to demand that Maher disclose his expenses:
Note: Democratic candidate for Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, does not take per diems so we can't ask him to disclose.