April 7, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - On the last day of the workweek before legislators returned to their districts, four Philadelphia Democrats who reportedly took envelopes of cash from a lobbyist were on the job, doing the people's business. Rep. Michelle Brownlee, who sources say got $2,000, stepped to her usual seat on the House floor. Rep. Vanessa Brown, who accepted $4,000, according to investigative documents, stood smiling and chatting with colleagues, her arm on their backs. Rep. Ronald Waters, who collected multiple payments totaling $7,650, according to sources, strode through the Rotunda.
April 4, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Democratic and Republican leaders in the state House moved swiftly Wednesday to ban lawmakers in the chamber from accepting cash gifts from lobbyists and others with an interest in state government. The new ethics rule follows stories in The Inquirer that a now-shuttered sting investigation by the state Attorney General's Office had captured five Philadelphia Democrats, including four House members, on recordings accepting money or gifts. In imposing the ban, House leaders said its members, as well as its employees, cannot accept a gift unless it is from a spouse, relative, or friend.
April 1, 2014 |
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.
March 28, 2014 |
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.
March 28, 2014 |
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.
March 26, 2014 |
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.
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.
March 24, 2014 |
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.
March 22, 2014 |
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.
March 21, 2014 |
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.