Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

State Rep. Mark Cohen on per diems: May be hardest worker

State Rep. Mark Cohen is under fire again for his practice of putting in for so many "per diem" payments each year. Cohen took to Facebook this morning to defend himself, saying he "may well be the hardest working state legislator."

State Rep. Mark Cohen on per diems: May be hardest worker

State Rep. Mark Cohen took to Facebook Thursday evening to defend himself for taking $39,000 in legislative per diems in 2011.
State Rep. Mark Cohen took to Facebook Thursday evening to defend himself for taking $39,000 in legislative per diems in 2011.

State Rep. Mark Cohen is under fire again for his practice of putting in for so many "per diem" payments each year.  Cohen took to Facebook Thursday evening to defend himself, saying he "may well be the hardest working state legislator."

"They're looking for scalps," Cohen responded when Harrisburg activist Russ Diamond asked him on Facebook "Why are they picking on you?"  Diamond was referring to a report on ABC27 in Harrisburg Thursday that Cohen led the state House in per diem payments in 2011 with $39,333.

The per diem (Latin for "by day") of $158 is paid to legislators for their travel and lodging when they are in Harrisburg or out of their districts on state business.

"What it comes down to is that I take very few days off, and they are trying to turn that into a scandal," Cohen continued.

The report has a strong Philly vs. Harrisburg flavor, asking at the start and finish: "Philly, can you hear us?"

Cohen has represented the 202nd District, which stretches from Fern Rock to Pennypack Park, since 1974.  He went unchallenged in Democratic primary elections from 1984 to 2012.  He defeated Numa St. Louis in the April 24 primary with 63 percent of the vote.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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