Representative Curt Schroder is all but imploring his fellow members in Pennsylvania’s House to support the creation of a Public Integrity Commission.
In a letter to build support, Schroder,(R-Chester), writes, “all of us are aware, over the last few years, of the numerous allegations, ongoing court cases and convictions related to public corruption in the Commonwealth. These corruption cases have involved both local and state officials and have touched on the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. All of us work under the shadow of this corruption and experience the impact on the public’s perception of its government.”
The proposed commission would not only come with plenty of bark, but also bite, as in subpoena power. It would also have the latitude to investigate corruption at all levels and in all branches of government within the Commonwealth.
“It is our hope that this new, empowered agency will take Pennsylvania out from under the dark cloud of suspicion hovering over many of governmental institutions and into the light of good, ethical government practices.” Schroder’s next line is perhaps the most poignant; if only one reason is needed to create the commission here it is, “Self policing has not worked.”
Estimated costs for the PIC run between $2 and $4 million a year. According to Schroder, the PIC would not put any burden on the on the general fund. One of the suggested ways to pay for it is through court filing fees.
Schroder tells Rock The Capital that the biggest hurdle is getting, “needed support from leadership and the Governor’s office to allow us to get the legislation moving once it is introduced. We need to make them understand that this is necessary going forward to ensure that there is no backsliding on integrity once the prosecutions have run their course.”
Representative Eugene DePasquale,(D-York), a cosponsor of the legislation told Rock The Capital support for it is growing. DePasquale believes what haggling is to come will generally be over how to pay for it.
Would a Public Integrity Commission restore Pennsylvanians faith in the Legislature, knowing its serious about policing the rotten apples?
“There is never one silver bullet for anything, but it would be a tremendous asset,” said DePasquale.
(To learn more about the proposed Public Integrity Commission, click on Rock The Capital.)
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