Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Todd Eachus's Attempt To Escape Voter Backlash

Back in 2005 a legislative "midnight" payraise bill passed the House of Representatives and was signed into law. To be accurate the bill passed at 2A.M. The Post-Gazette penned this article on the bonus scandal timeline that includes the pay raise debacle.

July 7, 2005
State lawmakers approve hefty raises for themselves, sparking voter outrage and turning the next election cycle into one of the most contentious in Pennsylvania history.
"General Assembly votes itself a 16 percent minimum pay raise"

Nov. 5, 2005
Lawmakers buckle to public pressure and repeal the pay-raise bill. Democratic Whip Michael Veon, D-Beaver Falls, stands alone as the only lawmaker to vote against the repeal.
"Repeal of pay raises passes quickly, 50-0, as leaders ask for forgiveness"

DemocracyRising reported on this article from on July 10, 2010 titled "60 Current and Former Legislators Continue to Profit for Stealing Taxpayer Dollars and Refuse to Pay the Money Back"

Initially, 131 House members and 27 Senators signed up for “unvouchered expenses.” Payments were received between July 7 and November 16, 2005, ranging from $1,288 to $14,553.32 (before taxes). The repealed pay raises would have boosted lawmakers’ salaries from 16 to 54 percent, depending on seniority, rank, title and leadership.

House Democratic members who took “unvouchered expenses” and did not pay the money back or “donated” the “unconstitutional” income to charities have been rewarded with leadership positions, job promotions, or committee chairmanships and assignments to the Speaker’s Commission on Legislative Reform.

Democratic Payjackers in House Leadership (5):
• Keith McCall (D-Carbon), Speaker.
Todd Eachus (Luzerne), Majority Leader.

According to the Majority Leader, Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne), "The payraise thing, I think, is finally behind us. I think we're on to other issues now."(Patriot News, February 17, 2008).

Eachus believes he is going to "escape" this issue. That ain't gonna happen.

Remember the budget impasse in Harrisburg last year. reported on how that failure of leadership hurt Pennsylvanians. Here' what Todd Eachus had to say about the impasse as reported in the News Item while racking up his per diems during that time.

Eachus said it was his responsibility as a leader to engage in the negotiations with Gov. Ed Rendell and Senate leaders and work out the compromises needed to pass the budget. While it took a long time to resolve, Eachus said the final budget came together in the way he hoped by maintaining health care for children, distributing additional money for education and providing enough recurring revenues so Pennsylvania doesn't have to reopen its budget like some states are doing this fall.

"We ought to be able to get through the next two years without a revenue increase," he said.

Eachus pointed out that lawmakers - unlike the governor - don't have a taxpayer-funded residence to stay in when they are in Harrisburg.
That is the most disingenous statement to the citizens of the Commonwealth as they come. What do you call this Mr. Eachus?

He will try to escape the issue of owning this home in Harrisburg while still collecting per diems. That ain't gonna happen.

When Todd Eachus ran for office in 1996 he was proud that then "State Representative Michael Veon and Democratic Majority Leader William DeWeese were prime sponsors" of a fund raising event scheduled for him on April 4, 1996. In the same publication he stated that "While voters are attentive to the political process, we are determined to build positive name recognition. Today Michael Veon is in prison and DeWeese faces trial on charges stemming from the Bonusgate investigation.

On June 30, 2007 Gort reported on his blog that Todd Eachus was trying to secure funding for Robert Powell's company in its quest to open a cargo airport outside of Hazleton. Powell donated over $17,000 to Eachus's campaign over the years. In an apparent pay to play scheme Eachus returned the favor.

Supporters of a proposed cargo airport in the Hazleton area are eyeing slots revenues to help pay for the $500 million project. State Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, inserted a $16.5 million authorization for the cargo airport in a new House bill listing projects under the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund. Robert Powell plead guilty for his role in the FBI's Luzerne County corruption probe that has snared 30 officials to date.

He will try to escape the corruption that swirls around those he surrounds himself with. That ain't gonna happen.

Standard Speaker reporter Bob Salitza reported on Todd Eachus's announcement that he was running for state representative in the 116th Legislative District on December 7, 1995. Below is a snapshot of that article. Eachus is quoted in the article.

"Now is the time for fundamental change in Harrisburg,." he declared. "We must put an end to midnight votes on pay raises for legislators. We have been taxed and WAM'ed(WAM is "walking around money" that state lawmakers does out as they see fit) until we can't take it anymore."

Todd Eachus not only voted for a midnight pay raise, he failed to return it to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Maybe it is time we can't take Todd Eachus anymore. He shouldn't escape losing this election. Obviously he is part of the culture that Dan Onorato says pervades Harrisburg.


Gene Babula - Hazleton, PA said...

I'm in Todd Eachus' voting district and have been approached by people campaigning for him. When approached the person asked, "Are you a registered voter?" and my response was (and is), "Yes, I am but I'm not interested in voting for Eachus or Kanjorski. It's time for them to go". In good faith to myself, I couldn't honestly vote for someone I don't believe in. WE, the people of Pennsylvania, are forced to give and give more of what we can no longer give. At some point, enough is enough. Something I noticed about the economy in PA - unemployment, especially in the Hazleton Area, is higher than the national level (if I'm wrong I stand corrected) but yet the person this area voted into office, to be the "voice of the people", makes a wonderful living off the people he works for and there's something wrong with this. It must be nice to vote a pay raise for yourself and give yourself "F U" money. I'm collecting Social Security. When is there going to be a raise for me and the many others on SS? I understand that SS is a Federal dealing but I have one check a month - ONE check a month Todd - to make my living on. Try doing that sometime. Not on what your paid but on what I get a month. I'm against people in public office being paid but, since you're being paid, I believe that ALL people of public offices be paid MINIMUM WAGE. There's a start to saving money right there!!! Let's make that happen! You clock in get paid for time worked, contribute to health coverage, no "per diem", no cars to pick you up and shuttle you wherever and whatever other "unknown goodies" you have going on. Want to impress us Todd, make a living just like the people you work for. Remember, WE THE PEOPLE are your boss, not the other way around. You got into the chair you're enjoying because of being voted in. I think the stay has been over stayed. I have no problem whatsoever stating right here, right now that my vote will be going to Tarah Toohill - best of luck Tarah!

Anonymous said...

i too am against WAM'S and that is exactly what Eachus gave Barletta when it came to the intermodel parking decks! and dont try and sell me on the "project is worth it" give the money to tax relief, tell barletta to refuse the money! show me he talks what he preaches

also why does barletta talk about washington bailing out wall street but yet he allows the water authority to bail out the City of Hazleton.

they are all bad......

McGruff said...

Todd Eachus had nothing to do with the parking deck money although he wants to take credit for it. If you remember Todd Eachus said he left his office in the Broad Street Exchange due to the lack of parking. The Commonwealth Financing Authority looked at Hazleton's application and awareded the money on its merits. WAM money was in a different account so you are not accurate about how the money came to Hazleton. Eachus has taken credit for lots of things he never really did.

He hid the property tax relief fromt the slots by giving the money directly to the school districts, not the taxpayers. That is what you should really be complaining about.

The water authority is not bailing out the City. First it isn't a water authority. It is a municipal authority with a water division. As for bailing out, the HCA board said it didn't want to be dissolved and sold. They are the ones who wanted to find a mechanism to help the City. And that is the purpose of a municipal authority. It is to take on projects that the incorporating municipality wants it to do. You can't label the purchase of services a bailout. The money is being paid for a service. Unlike Kanjorski and Obama who gave the banks and auto industry billions with nothing in return at least Hazleton has to provide a service in order to get paid.

The HCA has 7,000 acres that are undeveloped. It makes sense to partner with the City to put that investment to work. After all the land was purchased with ratepayer money.