Penn. Considers Clamping Down on Politicians’ Nonprofits

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March 5, 2012; Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pennsylvania’s state Senate Rules Committee has given initial approval to a resolution introduced by state Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware County) prohibiting government funding from going to nonprofits that are affiliated with state senators and their family members.

Before you get too excited about the Pennsylvania state Senate’s sudden burst of ethical concerns about nonprofits controlled by state politicians and their families, know that Pileggi’s resolution has been sitting around since he introduced it in April of 2011.

So what makes Pennsylvania suddenly sensitive to this issue? Hours before the vote on Pileggi’s resolution, former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon (D-Beaver Falls) was convicted of eight felonies and two misdemeanors for misusing moneys from the Beaver Initiative for Growth, which had received $10 million in state government grants over a 10-year period. A couple of years ago, state Sen. Vincent Fumo (D-Philadelphia) was convicted in federal court of defrauding the nonprofit Citizens Alliance out of millions of dollars (see here and here for some of NPQ’s coverage of Fumo). Let’s hope this new bill helps Pennsylvania avoid such problems in the future.—Rick Cohen