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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Tony Phyrillas
Bio: Tony Phyrillas
Date:  February 9, 2007
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Feds should investigate Pennsylvania Legislature

Some of the secret bonus money handed out to staffers by Pennsylvania lawmakers may have been recycled back into political campaigns of state legislators, which is essentially stealing taxpayer money to fund political campaigns.

There's disturbing reports that some of the secret bonus money handed out to staffers by Pennsylvania lawmakers may have been recycled back into political campaigns of state legislators, which is essentially stealing taxpayer money to fund political campaigns.

Does anybody have the number of the FBI or the U.S. Attorney or the Justice Department? Instead of harassing Scooter Libby, the feds should be investigating the cesspool known as the Pennsylvania Legislature.

And where is the Pennsylvania Attorney General in all this? Shouldn't he be launching his own investigation?

Here's the latest on the growing bonusgate scandal. File this under closing the barn door after the horses ran off ...

The Associated Press reported that Speaker Dennis M. O'Brien has decided that the House of Representatives will release a list of its employees's salaries in light of the growing bonusgate scandal that was gripped Harrisburg.

Salary information for this year would be released by Feb. 16, and in future years the salaries would be made public by Feb. 1, O'Brien wrote in a memo to the chief clerk's office.

"The new speaker is trying to bring in openness and transparency to the House," O'Brien spokesman Bill Patton told the Associated Press. "This is part of that effort."

(It's more like damage control in light of the latest boondoggle involving the misuse of taxpayer dollars by the Pennsylvania House of Lords.)

In case you've been in a cave in the last 10 days, news has come out that Legislative leaders have handed out $3.7 million on bonuses to staffers in the past two years. The new leadership is claiming it had no idea this was going on under the previous leadership (except for Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese, who knew about it, but suffered from memory loss when it came to fess up about how much money he handed out to his minions.)

The clerk's office will have to determine the format in which the salaries are released, Patton told the AP.

Previously, anyone seeking salary information was required to file a request with the chief clerk's office and allowed to review only a limited number of records in person, Patton told the AP.

Both parties in the House and a legislative reform panel appointed by O'Brien are discussing how to disclose information on any future bonuses that are awarded, Patton told the AP.

As an aside, one of the most generous party bosses in the past two years was Sen. David "Chip" Brightbill, who served as Republican Majority Leader in the Senate until voters in his district tossed him out of office last year.

I've been getting a lot of flack from GOP oldtimers about my frequent criticism of Brightbill, but remarkably, I have not heard a peep out of the GOP insiders since the news broke about bonusgate. I guess even they are having a hard time defending Brightbill on this one.

Brightbill got what he deserved. He abandoned his constituents and took advantage of his position to benefit political cronies and sycophants.

The Republicans will never take back control of the House until they come to grips with the fact that many of their leaders abandoned Republican principles.

Tony Phyrillas (Columnist)

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Biography - Tony Phyrillas

Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (, his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas

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