May 19, 2016
IF LAWMAKERS in Harrisburg want to look for a place with effective and enforced election laws, they do not need to look far. They can look to Philadelphia. Yes, Philadelphia. The city has a far tougher election law than the state of Pennsylvania. For one thing, the city has limits on campaign giving. The state has none. For another, we have the Board of Ethics to enforce the law. It tracks down mistakes and misdeeds in the filing or spending of campaign money - and has the power to levy thousands of dollars in fines.
May 12, 2016 |
STATE SEN. Larry Farnese of Philadelphia was accused in a federal indictment Tuesday of using a $6,000 bribe to sway a 2011 election for a Democratic ward leader in Center City's Eighth Ward. Farnese, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, paid $6,000 to fund a college-study-abroad program for the daughter of a committeewoman in the ward, Ellen Chapman, who was also charged in the indictment. Chapman "had originally intended to support a different candidate in the ward leader election" but switched her vote to help Farnese, according to federal prosecutors.
May 10, 2016
ISSUE | CAMPAIGN 2016 Make elections fair In the Pennsylvania primaries, with hot battles for president in both major parties and 18 congressional seats and a Senate seat at stake, just 45 percent of registered voters turned out. This was a primary people cared about, with clear, major differences that separated the candidates. Why did most voters stay home? Many believe the system is rigged, through complicated political party rules for nominating conventions, through superdelegates, and in other ways ("After the primaries," May 1)
May 8, 2016 |
Donald Trump will testify after the presidential election on a class-action lawsuit that accuses him and his now-defunct Trump University of defrauding people who paid up to $35,000 for real estate seminars, his attorney said Friday. A federal judge in San Diego set a Nov. 28 trial, raising the possibility that Trump could take the stand as a president-elect. The presumptive GOP nominee plans to attend most, if not all, of the trial and will take the witness stand, Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said.
May 5, 2016
ISSUE | PENNSYLVANIA CORRUPTION Let's keep an eye on all elected officials Who would have thought that disgraced former Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord's greatest contribution to public service would be wearing a wire ("Sources: McCord wore wire in probe," Thursday)? Given the state of rampant corruption, let's forget about body cameras on police officers and require them to be worn by every elected official in Pennsylvania 24 hours a day. |Mark D. Schwartz, Bryn Mawr, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 3, 2016 |
The Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System has voided ballots in a special election for a seat on its controlling board, citing "minor irregularities. " Since PSERS is one of the biggest expenses that Pennsylvanians pay - it consumed $2.6 billion from state and local taxpayers last year, and expects to need $4 billion next year - it's comforting that the board's 15 members, who hire the hundreds of private investors paid to manage PSERS' $52 billion in assets, answer to the people.
April 30, 2016
Philadelphia, the nation's poorest big city, spends $400,000 a year on three employees who don't necessarily work hard for the money. The City Commissioners, with salaries of $129,600 and, for their chairman, $138,400, each collect almost four times the city's median household income for their elected posts atop Philadelphia's elections agency. But two people who have held the job say it's not full time. "The only full-time part of it is the pay," former Commissioner Stephanie Singer told the Inquirer.
April 28, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has noted correctly that "the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around. " In Pennsylvania, which nominated candidates for Congress and state legislature in Tuesday's primaries, that is not how representative government has worked for many years. At the beginning of this decade, Republicans drew legislative and congressional district lines so masterfully - and questionably - that the state's delegations don't come close to reflecting the population they're supposed to represent.
April 27, 2016
Republicans are a more ideological party than Democrats, but ideology has mattered less in the GOP primaries this year than in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Clinton is in a nearly unassailable position to win her party's nomination. But assuming she prevails, her primary fight with Sanders has underscored weaknesses she will have to deal with to win in November. And Donald Trump's move toward moderation on social issues last week reflects not only his campaign's understanding that he cannot win as a far-right candidate, but also his need to tread carefully to maintain the crazy-quilt coalition he has built in the GOP primaries.