Tuesday, February 06, 2007
PA Legislature Still Corrupt as Hell
Ed Rendell released his $27.3 billion budget today, calling for a privatized turnpike, a higher sales tax, and indirect taxes on oil profits. This in the wake of news that Billy DeWeese and Mike Veon used tax dollars to pay for staff campaign work, Vince "the Prince" Fumo announces his indictment by a federal grand jury on corruption charges, and the entire legislature gets caught feasting at the trough.
That DeWeese and Veon would pay staffers bonuses for campaign work ain't no shocker. Afterall, millions in 'Public Service' announcements (Hey Gramma, get your gimp plates at my district office), 'Public Service' mailers (FYI Mom, enroll in CHIPs, complements of Billy DeWeese) during election season are nothing new. That 'Public Service' announcements were aired only for the favored Representatives of DeWeese and Veon emphasizes that 'Public Service' translated into 'Political Hammer' on the floor of the House. So if advertisements & mailers that function as political capital can be chalked up as 'Public Service,' why the hell can't blatant political activities be as well. Why not pay that favorite staffer, who took on 'special assignments' (like running a re-election campaign) an extra $30k. Got lots to read (political or otherwise), why not get yourself a chauffeured limo to the tune of $35k, conveniently in the same year you're running for office? Afterall, its all about 'Public Service.'
Fumo was fond of shaking down Philly based industries for his 'charities,' which then contributed to favored constituencies. South Philly being South Philly, getting on the good side of "the Prince" ain't bad business if your target market happens to be in Fumo's fiefdom. But just like DeWeese, Fumo claims he was working in the interest of the people.
Somewhere along the line, Fumo, DeWeese and Veon's began to regard their very existence as 'Public Service,' and thus any activity in furtherance of their power, prestige or position became 'Public Service.' This perverse rationale permeated everything: political muscle vis a vis direct mailers, re-election vis a vis tax dollars, and self-enrichment vis a vis legislation.
As Rendell unveils yet another stunningly aggressive budget for FY '07, expect a legislature of vultures, gorging themselves on the rotting corpse, Pennsylvania. DeWeese vis a vis Pennsylvania: "L'Etat c'est Moi."