Shhhhhh! Secret!: The Commonwealth Financing Authority
A model of open government and transparency Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Financing Authority is not. And given the public-be-damned secrecy under which it steadfastly operates, reasonable people could — and perhaps they should — assume nefarious activity is underfoot.
The authority, under the auspices of the equally transparency-bereft state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), was created a decade ago to allow state legislators to sign off on multimillion-dollar development projects. Just last fall it was tasked with distributing tens of millions of dollars in new grants from the $2.4 billion transportation bill. They're nothing more than a new version of WAMs, palm-greasing “walking-around money” now with the veneer of “oversight.”
As today's front-page story details, the Trib filed an open records request to examine emails between board members, legislators and officials of Gov. Tom Corbett's administration. We wanted to document any political deal-making. What we received was a Susquehanna Salute to public purpose — 167 pages of largely blacked-out records. So redaction-happy were DCED lawyers that they even deleted readily available public contact information.
Additionally, the DCED continues to play games by refusing to make public the applications of all grant requesters. That would be too burdensome, it says. But bear that burden it must, considering these public agencies are disbursing public dollars.
Time and chance might reveal all these secrets. But taxpayers have every right to know them. Now.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The hunting proposal: A rule too far
- Sunday pops
- The Box
- State of Corruption: The McCord scandal
- The Thursday wrap
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Catholic Education Week: School choice & more
- Saturday essay: A new (& blue) feeder