May 19, 2016 |
In February, when Rep. David Jolly introduced his quixotic plan to ban members of Congress from soliciting campaign contributions, the Florida Republican had only six cosponsors. Then, three weeks ago, 60 Minutes did a sympathetic piece on Jolly's idea, giving national attention to the scandal of lawmakers spending 30 or more hours a week dialing for dollars. And now? The number of cosponsors on Jolly's bill has jumped from six all the way up to - um, eight. No senator has come forward with similar legislation.
June 6, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - A 2012 Princeton University graduate hopes to add a burst of youth to Congress, launching a campaign to represent Delaware County and other Philadelphia suburbs. Lindy Li, who grew up in Malvern and has a home in Radnor, is running for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania's Seventh District, which also sprawls through Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Lancaster Counties. Li, 24, said she was "ready to unleash the power of my generation. " She will turn 25, the minimum age to serve in Congress, in December.
November 21, 2011
In 1969, Congress considered the first of the modern era's many campaign-finance regulations. Major laws followed in 1974 and again in 2002. But now that the Supreme Court has invalidated much of the latter as well as some earlier prohibitions on business and union spending, the end of "campaign-finance reform" seems near. Many will lament its passing. Fewer will note its failures. To diminish private political spending, lawmakers can restrict contributions or subsidize candidates.
June 27, 2011
KNOW WHO'S HAPPIEST about the no-tax, cut-spending state budget Gov. Corbett and Republican lawmakers finalize this week? He's a bartender in central Pennsylvania with guns, grown sons but no daughters, no living parents and no real interest in any governmental reforms. I say this because what's cooking in the Capitol is a new law extending happy hour (not making this up), a new law allowing gun owners to blast away when feeling threatened, a new law certain to make obtaining abortions more difficult and a new law likely to restrict elderly voters' access to polling places.
June 4, 2010 |
Lobbyists roaming the corridors in City Hall will soon have to stand up and be counted, after City Council approved legislation yesterday requiring them to register with the city and file public reports on their expenditures. Council yesterday also passed several ethics bills that deal with campaign-finance rules and government reform. But it did not act on controversial legislation that would allow city employees to engage in political activity in their off-hours, as ward leaders, party committeemen or campaign workers.
May 23, 2010
The primary elections in Pennsylvania demonstrated again that widespread calls for change aren't having much impact in Harrisburg. The failed gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Anthony Hardy Williams did serve one useful purpose - it highlighted the need for campaign-finance limits in Pennsylvania. The state has no restrictions on the amount of money that individuals or political action committees can donate to a candidate for public office. It's a perennial embarrassment.
March 18, 2010
Pennsylvania legislators should get their own house in order before pushing for campaign-finance limits on the national level. Some Democratic state legislators met recently at the National Constitution Center to call for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing limits on campaign donations. It's a noble goal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous ruling that permits unlimited corporate and union funding of elections. "Our political system is broken," said Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks)
March 15, 2010
USUALLY, we're delighted when state lawmakers talk about reforming the constitution. State government desperately needs to modernize, but tomorrow a Senate panel will consider taking a step backward. The Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Senate Bill 707, which would ban gay marriage in Pennsylvania. During these tough times, we can think of a few better uses of the Legislature's time. How about a constitutional amendment to require lawmakers to pass a budget on time? Or to shrink the size and cost of the Legislature?
November 20, 2009
LIKE NIGHT follows day, scandals in Harrisburg are followed by cries for reform. This time, though, cries are coming from an unusual place: the governor's office. Gov. Rendell called a news conference earlier this week to vow that he would spend the remainder of his term pushing for big reforms. Rendell wants major changes in redistricting, campaign finance and judicial elections. Normally, we'd say these ideas will be dead on arrival, especially in Harrisburg. Governors who have little more than a year left in office often announce bold, impossible plans - like flying to the moon or curing cancer - with little risk, since they know few will take them seriously.
January 26, 2009
A definition of a watchdog is "one who serves as a guardian or protector against waste, loss or illegal practices. " For too long, that crucial role has been missing in Philadelphia. But the newly independent Board of Ethics, and the ethics watchdog, now appear to be on the case. Last week two elected officials were sanctioned for improperly doling out cash in the hotly contested 2007 primary. The action underscores the need for a task force launched by Mayor Nutter to enhance ethical standards for campaigns and the conduct of all business at City Hall.