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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner has released his audit of PHEAA, recommending among other things that PHEAA's board not be dominated by legislators (news release here).  Wagner does not go as far as he should, and suggest PHEAA should be fully privatized.

To shock of many, legislators on PHEAA's board defend having lots of legislators on PHEAA's board.  Of course, they can't say that it is because they likes the perks of office, but point to a bogus concern that "it might effect their tax exempt status" as though having legislators on the board is an IRS criteria for tax exemption, or that for-profit companies (like most of PHEAA's competitors) can't provide financial aid.

I didn't think I would have to point this out, but there are millions of nonprofit organizations across the country and in PA (including the Commonwealth Foundation), and only a handful have boards dominated by legislators.  Those that are dominated by legislators seem to occur all too often in PA, and between PHEAA, Mike Veon's BIG, and Vince Fumo's Citizens Alliance they have a pretty consistent record of pilfering taxpayer money to the benefit of their legislator-board. 


Anonymous said...

Who in the legislature funds the Commonwealth Foundation? Better yet, who in the legislature does the Commonwealth Foundation fund? Release your clients! Reading these blogs and other pieces, this foundation is far from nonpartisan, and obviously open to the highest bidder.

Nathan Benefield said...

Say What? The Commonwealth Foundation doesn't support any legislators or candidates for office, nor do (or would we) we receive any government funding.

If we are being partisan, I'd like to know which party we are accused of supporting, since both Republicans and Democratics legislators serve on the PHEAA board, and are equally guilty of misusing taxpayer funds for their personal benefit.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if the State of Pennsylvania would auction PHEAA to the highest bidder ?

Nathan Benefield said...

The state would get a sizable pot of money.
- They would begin collecting tax on the company (assuming it is a for-profit firm rather than a nonprofit).
- The PA Department of Education would likely take responsibility for administering the Higher Ed grants.
- Some Lawmakers would lose out on perks.