September 29, 2010 |
When former New Jersey Sen. Wayne Bryant filed his financial-disclosure statements from 2004 to 2006, he listed his law firm, Zeller & Bryant, as a source of earned income. But Bryant did not have to reveal that his firm received $192,000 in retainer fees during that period from an influential Bergen County law firm. An indictment filed Monday in federal court charges that while those fees were purportedly for legal work relating to a Meadowlands project, they actually were bribes in exchange for the senator's support of the law firm's clients' development projects, including proposals to redevelop Petty's Island and Cramer Hill in Camden.
September 2, 2010
AS OF THIS writing, there are five lawmakers in Harrisburg who we know for sure respect the public's right to know about campaign-finance contributions. They include several key members of the legislative leadership, including Sen. Jake Corman (chairman of the Appropriations Committee) and Rep. Sam Smith (House minority leader). We're hoping more will join them. We know for sure three won't. Last week, we called on Harrisburg lawmakers to voluntarily disclose, in real time, the donations they receive through Oct. 1 from donors seeking to influence the debate on a new gas extraction tax. The Legislature has given itself a self-imposed deadline of that date to sort out the details of the tax - how much it will be, whether there will be any exemptions and what regulations will accompany the tax. But because of the way the state's campaign-finance laws are written, legislators will likely cast their votes on the matter before having to disclose the donations they receive from those with interests in the issue.
August 27, 2010 |
Question: Recently, we purchased a rehabbed house where mechanicals, the roof, windows, and the like were pretty much all replaced. When we asked our real estate agent for a disclosure from the buyer, the agent said there wasn't one because it was a rehab. Looking at the Pennsylvania disclosure law, in a resale the seller should always provide a disclosure, but there's also a provision that new properties do not require one, if a warranty if offered. What is a rehab considered, a new building or a resale?
August 23, 2010
UPSET ABOUT the Marcellus Shale tax vote, and Pennsylvania campaign finance in general? Take action: GET ANGRY. Go to www.commoncause.org/pa and download their report on campaign contributions and natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, "Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets. " DEMAND REAL-TIME DISCLOSURE from elected officials. Call or e-mail your state representative or senator (see on Committee of Seventy Web site, http://guide.seventy.org ) and tell them that you expect them to disclose - within one business day - any donations they accept between Sept.
August 23, 2010
IT'S BECOMING increasingly clear how much of a toll that natural gas extraction from the state's Marcellus Shale formation is taking on the environment and potentially on human health. It's also increasingly clear why it's taking so long for state lawmakers to return the favor, and impose a tax on drillers. A new report from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association found that Marcellus Shale drillers in the state have piled up 1,435 violations in the last 2 1/2 years . The great majority - 66 percent - have the potential for direct impact on the environment.
August 16, 2010
CARL GREENE WANTS to keep his mortgage problems private. And who can blame him? It's bad enough to be facing foreclosure, but it has to be devastating to be running the fourth-largest public housing agency in the country and have your own roof about to cave in and your financial difficulties the subject of public debate. But this is our business. We need to know why his financial woes - troubles that not only include impending foreclosure, but also an IRS tax lien for four years of unpaid taxes (the lien has been paid)
May 28, 2010 |
Former U. S. Sen. Norman Coleman, chief executive of a Republican-oriented "action network" that hopes to pour $25 million into this year's congressional campaigns, said yesterday that the group does not intend to disclose its funding sources. Reached by telephone at the Washington headquarters of the group, the American Action Network, Coleman said that federal law doesn't require public disclosure of its contributors and the organization doesn't intend to disclose anything more.
April 16, 2010 |
Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., parent company of The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, was given a boost Thursday in its efforts to see whether anything untoward was behind a senior lender's attempt to tape a meeting with company officials. Chief Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich ordered the senior lenders to turn over any documents they might still have pertaining to the Nov. 17, 2008, incident. The order was less than the company had sought, however. Raslavich stopped short of permitting company attorneys to take depositions as part of their inquiry or seek a much broader range of documents.
June 29, 2009 |
The city's campaign-finance ordinance serves an important public purpose, and the Philadelphia Board of Ethics has made every effort to help political candidates follow it. When the Board of Ethics was given the charge of enforcing the new campaign-finance ordinance in 2006, we quickly set out to educate political candidates and their campaign treasurers. Letters explaining the ordinance were sent to all 79 candidates for city office months before the 2007 primary election. Candidates and treasurers were also invited to attend training seminars.
April 23, 2009 |
About two years ago, candidate Barack Obama made a series of promises to the radical antiwar crowd so he could outflank Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. It worked. Last week, President Obama was justly pummeled for proudly announcing that he was keeping one of those promises by disclosing the details of our interrogation techniques to our enemies. I guess that is one way to make sure an administration won't get accused of failing to connect the dots after a terrorist incident: Setting policies that guarantee it won't have any dots to connect.