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 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.

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

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.

Continue Reading