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BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
If you're a fan of buying low and selling high, then some (but not all) markets outside the U.S. might represent value for your portfolio. We interviewed Mebane Faber (his first name is Scottish, pronounced "meb-bin"), a portfolio manager running about $350 million in assets. His firm recently launched a new exchange-traded fund called the Cambria Global Value ETF (GVAL). This fund invests in roughly 100 stocks in the world's most undervalued markets, and Faber says those are - brace yourselves - Greece, Russia, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Portugal.
NEWS
March 28, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
  HARRISBURG - Republicans and Democrats in the state House of Representatives have joined in calling for legislation banning lawmakers from accepting money from lobbyists and others with a stake in state business. On Wednesday, the Republican and Democratic chairs of the House State Government Committee said they would introduce legislation to prohibit public officials and employees from accepting cash gifts from individuals, including lobbyists and the principals they represent.
NEWS
March 28, 2014 | By Thomas Fitzgerald and Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writers
Polls show the economy, not ethics, is dominating the campaign for governor, but the tale of an aborted sting that taped elected officials accepting cash has candidates pushing to tighten Pennsylvania's lax ethics laws. The four Democrats running to take on Gov. Corbett said Wednesday that they would go further than the current proposals in the legislature to ban only gifts of cash. "To me, it's like taking a garden hose to a five-alarm fire," said Katie McGinty, former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, in an interview.
NEWS
March 26, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Dismayed at reports that their colleagues in the House took cash from an undercover informant, Republican and Democratic state senators are proposing legislation to ban lawmakers from accepting cash gifts. Reforms that closely mirror each other are being drafted by two Republicans - Lloyd Smucker of Lancaster County and Lisa Baker of Luzerne County - and a Democrat, Daylin Leach of Montgomery and Delaware Counties. The GOP proposal would prohibit lawmakers from accepting monetary gifts, including cash, money orders, checks, and gift cards, from lobbyists or anyone else with a stake in the legislative process.
NEWS
March 24, 2014
When the Pennsylvania House's top Democrat addressed Inquirer reports that four of his colleagues allegedly took money from a lobbyist turned informant, his condemnation was less than full-throated. "If it's true that any legislators accepted gifts without reporting them," Rep. Frank Dermody said in a statement last week, "they should correct that reporting mistake. " This pale formulation underscores not only the legislature's laissez-faire institutional attitude toward questionable behavior, but also the limp laws it has produced.
NEWS
March 24, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Angela Couloumbis, and Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writers
Tyron Ali just wanted to help. If an elected official needed money for a campaign, he could deliver. Worried about paying a bill? He could provide the cash. Advice on how to maneuver politically? Talk to Ty. All the while, unbeknownst to the recipients of his largesse, Ali was taping every word. As he was chauffeured around in a BMW sedan, the Philadelphia lobbyist-turned-undercover agent wore a hidden recording device. Sometimes, it was in the lapel of his crisply pressed shirt.
NEWS
March 22, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas and Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
PHILADELPHIA City Council passed an ordinance Thursday that bars city officers and employees from receiving cash from anyone seeking business or official action, while allowing receipt of non-monetary gifts worth up to $99 per donor per year. The vote was unanimous. The bill amends the existing gifts ordinance with language that is easier to enforce, and some say stricter, than is on the books now. Mayor Nutter is expected to sign the bill into law. The city code now prohibits gifts of "substantial economic value," but leaves the term undefined.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis andCraigR. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - The hustle went down in a dimly lighted hallway outside his office in the state Capitol. Democratic State Rep. Angel Cruz had just finished talking to a Philadelphia lobbyist about a forthcoming House vote on the controversial voter-ID bill, when the lobbyist asked him to take a walk outside the office. There, he said, the lobbyist pulled out an envelope stuffed with cash and asked Cruz to vote against the legislation. "I'm like, whoa," Cruz said in an interview Wednesday.
NEWS
March 8, 2014 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mayor Nutter couldn't have put the need for school funding in starker terms. In his budget address Thursday, he called public education the "paramount issue" facing City Council. Later he described getting more money for the schools as "a fight for the future of this city. " But his own spending plan offered no new revenue streams for schools, relying instead on two proposed taxes with uncertain fates to come up with the $195 million the School District has asked for. Education advocates were quick to say the city had "shortchanged" children again, and Nutter acknowledged that his initial budget was a bit light.
NEWS
February 21, 2014
The pay-to-play culture is so entrenched in Pennsylvania politics that campaign finance reform efforts have been about as successful as throwing a pail of water on a towering inferno. Never mind that polls show the public is increasingly frustrated with a political system that gives special interests way more influence over the public policy agenda than mere voters, whose taxes finance the lucrative government contracts and favors that the big donors to political campaigns get. Need evidence of this twisted arrangement?
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