August 10, 2012 |
IT'S HARD TO imagine a political cause that would unite longtime Harrisburg gadfly Gene Stilp, liberal activist Michael Morrill and conservative columnist Chris Freind. But in recent weeks, all have voiced loud support for what may be a quixotic quest for an investigation into whether Gov. Corbett mishandled the probe of convicted Penn State serial child molester Jerry Sandusky when Corbett was state attorney general. The Corbett critics insist that their questions about the first two years of the child-sex probe — whether Corbett didn't put enough people on the case and whether political considerations were the reasons why — transcend their ideological differences.
October 8, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - Five years after its career was launched on the local political stage, an inflatable pink pig used to help protest legislative pay raises is about to get its network television debut. The pig is supposed to appear as a prop on an episode of Blue Bloods , a new CBS police drama set in New York. Gene Stilp, a Harrisburg political activist noted for creating oversize props for various causes, said Thursday that he got a call last month from the show's producers requesting the smaller of two pigs he created to help protest the pay raises.
November 19, 2009 |
Inflation, or a lack thereof, has done what Pennsylvania lawmakers refused to do - freeze their salaries, at least for the next year. For the first time since 1995, the 253 members of the state House and Senate will not see any more in their monthly paychecks starting in December. Base legislative pay, like the economy, will remain stagnant, at $78,315. Salaries also will stay the same for Gov. Rendell, other top state officials, and judges. That's because a key inflationary rate that determines annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAS)
November 17, 2009 |
Gene Stilp, considered a good-government activist by some in Harrisburg and an attention-seeking gadfly by others, asked the feds yesterday to investigate state Attorney General Tom Corbett's connections to two Philadelphia Republicans he charged last week in a public corruption probe. Corbett on Thursday charged state Rep. John Perzel and his former chief of staff, Brian Pre-ski, along with eight other Republicans from the House GOP caucus, as part of a long-running investigation into the use of state money for political campaigns.
August 4, 2009 |
Harrisburg political activist Gene Stilp filed afederal judicial code of conduct complaint yesterday against U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter,alleging that the judge?scomments during the sentencing of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo ?undermined the public confidence in the independence and integrity of the court.? Last month, Buckwalter sentenced Fumo to 55 months in prison after federal prosecutors urged the judge to impose aterm of more than 15 years. Fumo was convicted of charges that he illegally extracted $4 million in benefits, defrauding the Senate by getting workers to do his personal and political work on state time and defrauding two nonprofits.
July 24, 2009 |
Irked by the 55-month sentence given last week to former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo on corruption charges, a Harrisburg activist has begun a campaign to collect vacuum cleaners. Yes, some explanation is in order. Among the 137 charges leveled at Fumo was that he directed the nonprofit he controlled to buy him 19 Oreck vacuums. So, in the mind of political gadfly Gene Stilp, whom Ralph Nader once described as the nation's "No. 1 political prop artist," it all presented the perfect opportunity.
March 3, 2009 |
First Bibles, then pens. When they took the oath of office in January, most Pennsylvania legislators placed their right hands on new Bibles and Torahs that cost taxpayers about $13,700. Now comes word that members of the state House got something else that day as well - a desktop pen set. It was a gift presented by new House Speaker Keith R. McCall (D., Carbon). But he didn't pay for it. The public did - nearly $4,000. In all, 210 of the trinkets were ordered at a cost of $18.95 each.
November 21, 2008 |
Despite a growing budget deficit, the very real prospect of tax increases, and unemployment rates not seen in years, Pennsylvania lawmakers are about to get a raise. Come Dec. 1, base salaries of state House and Senate members will increase 2.8 percent, or $2,152, to $78,315. Legislative leaders will see even more of a pay bump. The extra cash comes courtesy of a law that legislators passed in 1995, setting in motion annual cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, for themselves and other elected state officials, including the governor and judges.
December 4, 2007 |
For state workers, dropping a dime on your boss for using public resources in a political campaign will actually cost 41 cents - the price of a postage stamp. But it's a small price to pay to clean up Harrisburg, said Gene Stilp, a longtime activist who yesterday announced he has created a "Crime Watch" inside the state Capitol. Stilp wants government staffers to write him if they spot instances where House or Senate members are using state resources - whether it be a copy machine or cell phone or the time of a staffer - for campaign purposes.
September 17, 2006
It took some tortured logic to preserve pay raises for more than 1,000 judges in Pennsylvania, but with that kind of motivation, the state Supreme Court was equal to the task. The court's ruling Thursday on cases stemming from the notorious pay raise was awful on several counts. It failed to reject the process that led to the legislature's original pay-raise law, passed without warning in the dead of night on July 7, 2005 (and since repealed). It gave lawmakers the court's blessing to keep on trying to fool the public.