Holding Politicians Accountable

Operation Clean SweepRemember that raise PA legislators gave themselves? Well, Operation Clean Sweep Pennsylvania isn't the only group torqued by it. Common Cause Pennsylvania wants in on the butt-kicking.

"A citizens lobby called Common Cause/Pennsylvania is considering a wide range of options, including a lawsuit and two pieces of legislation, to fight the pay raise that state legislators approved for themselves in the early-morning hours of July 7."

"'We are exploring all our options, including the litigation option,'' said Executive Director Barry Kauffman."

"Despite unsuccessful lawsuits against previous raises, one in 1986 by a group called the Consumer Party and another in 1995 by Harrisburg activist Gene Stilp, Duquesne University law school Professor Bruce Ledewitz believes the Legislature's action this time clearly violated the state constitution, which prohibits a legislator from getting a raise during his or her term."

"To avoid the constitutional prohibition, legislators are calling their raises, which began taking effect on Monday, "unvouchered expenses'' rather than actual raises."

When I last checked, CC/P hadn't posted anything on their site about potential legislation or litigation. I'll be sure to keep an eye on them and let you know if they need support.

On another front in the war for accountability in politics, I received the following in an email from the Libertarian Party.

"Does the Bush Administration Take Its Job Seriously?"

"(Washington, D.C.) On Wednesday, 14 Marines deployed to Iraq from Ohio were killed when their armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The attack is one of the deadliest attacks to take place in Iraq. Days earlier, six Marines from the same unit were killed in a fire-fight near Haditha."

"Meanwhile, Republican President George W. Bush set out yesterday to begin his five-week vacation in Crawford, Texas. The planned vacation will be the longest presidential getaway in 36 years (Richard Nixon spent over a month at his San Clemente estate in 1969)."

"While Bush's aides and enablers defend the president's aggressive vacationing, it is simply poor leadership on the part of the Commander in Chief. While American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen are disallowed from simply returning to the United States as scheduled and risks their lives in Iraq each day, the President of the United States enjoys the comfort and pleasures of his Crawford ranch."

"'As a self-professed 'Wartime President', George W. Bush needs to start taking his job seriously by showing the leadership that our troops deserve,' said Shane Cory, director of communications for the Libertarian Party."

"Cory continued, 'Throughout his presidency, Bush has wrapped himself in patriotic rhetoric by using the troops as the focus of American pride. It's time for Bush to take a step toward working as hard as they do by simply staying on the job and finding a way to bring our troops home.'"

Amazing…I actually agree with the Libertarian Party on something other than the need to break the two-party's stranglehold on this country. Adding shock to amazement, here's another idea I agree with.

"Libertarians upset about a Supreme Court ruling on land taking have proposed seizing a justice's vacation home and turning it into a park, echoing efforts aimed at another justice who lives in the state."


"The plot mirrors the party's ongoing effort to get the town of Weare, about 45 miles to the southeast, to seize Justice David Souter's home. Souter's property is also the focus of a proposal by a California man who suggested the town turn the farmhouse into a 'Lost Liberty Hotel.'"