Barry Kauffman of Common Cause Pennsylvania commented in the news story “Corbett, election aides met in office, raising ‘appearance' of illegality” that “(p)ublic resources are not supposed to be used for partisan political purposes.” We agree.
But Mr. Kauffman and other critics were simply referring to allowing campaign staff to participate in a meeting held in the state Capitol. At the same time, Kauffman and other critics have been silent about, or even supportive of, using taxpayer resources to collect campaign contributions in that same state Capitol.
In Pennsylvania, public resources — including staff time and payroll systems — are used to collect political action committee (PAC) contributions that can be given directly to candidates. The state treasurer alone collects and transmits more than $700,000 each year to union PACs, while school districts and local governments collect millions of dollars more. This is on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars that taxpayers pay to collect government union dues that are given to “super PACs” to fund election ads.
These services offered to union leaders to collect their political money have real and measurable costs. While the marginal costs of payroll deduction for union PACs may be small, it is infinitely more than the nonexistent cost of a campaign staffer sitting in a taxpayer-funded chair for a meeting.
That's why we hope Common Cause and other so-called “good government” reformers will support us in fighting for paycheck protection.
Nathan A. Benefield
The writer is vice president of policy analysis at the Commonwealth Foundation (CommonwealthFoundation.org).
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.
- Hospital’s hero & more
- U.S. Steel worthy of grant
- White House not playing to win
- Good ‘friends,’ good food
- Unworthy of high office
- Farewell, my Springdale
- Better in long run
- An Obama clone
- Write-in alternative
- Shared Ebola concerns