One year ago today Eric Epstein penned the following article. It's worth posting because the last question still stands.
Todd Eachus: New boss, same magic tricks
By Eric Epstein
1/14/2009 - 11:24:24 AM
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Legislature's "new" majority leader, Todd Eachus, announced that the House of Representatives was under "new management." The same day, the "new" majority whip, Bill DeWeese, introduced HB 21 to promote table games at Pennsylvania casinos. The next day, Dan Surra, former majority caucus administrator, landed a "new" job during a hiring freeze.
Alakazamm! Whoosh! Everything is fine.
Wait a minute. I think we've seen this magic act before.
Who is the new magician?
Eachus voted to increase his salary 22 percent from $69,648 to $85,102, defended the pay grab and kept the money. Mr. New Management never paid back the unconstitutional pay raise.
Eachus is a protégée of indicted former Whip Mike Veon. In fact, it was Mr. New Management who retired Veon's campaign debt. "Mike's contribution as a leader to our collective effort meant a lot to us," said House Majority Policy Chairman Eachus of Luzerne County, who chairs the campaign committee. But the committee's other three leaders -- Reps. Joe Preston, Dan Frankel and Jennifer Mann -- apparently had no knowledge of the two payments.
Last year at this time, Eachus told the public there was no need for new management. "The pay-raise thing, I think, is finally behind us. I think we're on to other issues now."
Eachus' first move was to hire Chris Casey to conduct a management review. Casey will be paid from the same unaudited non-lapsing accounts that just paid Bill Chadwick to eliminate waste and inefficiencies.
Chadwick Associates was hired in March 2007 by DeWeese to advise the House Democratic caucus on legal and ethical issues. What did the taxpayers get for the $833,000 Chadwick's firm received?
OK, so now we move from paying for advice to paying for an audit from a partisan politician.
Who's going to audit Casey's expenses? Will the latest ethics guy have the authority to audit $200 million in slush funds?
However, the first order of business for Casey is to ask one question: "Mr. Eachus, when are you going to pay back the money my brother said you took illegally?"
Eric Epstein is a watchdog and advocate for consumers, good government and safe energy. For more about Epstein, click here.