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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More taxpayer-funded gifts to lawmakers

Mario Cattabiani has another story on wasteful spending by the Pennsylvania legislature - this time, $4,000 for  gift pen sets to lawmakers (HT Grassroots PA).

Speaker Keith McCall is taking credit for gifts taxpayers bought,

Bob Caton, McCall's spokesman, said the pens were in keeping with a "decades-old tradition for the newly elected speaker to offer a small memento to the membership on swearing-in day."

I don't think he understands the concept of gifts, but if he doesn't want to spend his own money, perhaps he can print notes for "One Free Foot Massage" or something.

Yes, this is a small price tag, but as I've pointed out before, small ticket items  in the budget add up to billions.  Whether it be pens or Bibles for lawmakers,  promotional calendars bearing legislator's names, political polling, "public service ads," or even excesses at PHEAA, most (but not all) lawmakers - not to mention executive branch officials - give little thought to whether something is an appropriate use of taxpayer funding until after the media catches them. 

Along those same lines, Brad Bumsted covers the cost to taxpayers of outside legal fees (despite an abundance of in-house lawyers) lawmakers spent in defending themselves in the bonus-gate investigation, i.e. an investigation into misuse of taxpayer dollars.

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