Monday, May 4, 2015

More Free Lunch

Even in this economy, lawmakers continue to stuff their faces on your tax dollars...pass the crab cakes, please.

More Free Lunch

Travel Deals

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Oink, Oink, Oink!

BE: Hey, that's not your usual sound.

JB: But appropriate. Our lawmakers are still at the trough, no matter the economy, no matter the budget cuts, no matter everybody else cutting back.

BE: What are you oinking over?

JB: This new report by Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV investigative unit on the taxpayer-funded lunching habits of those we elect to make state policy and be accountable for our money.

BE: Uh-oh. Now what?

JB: WTAE reports on two legislative leaders and their luncheon/party stuff: Sen. Wayne Fontanna, D-Pittsburgh, took staffers to a couple $50 lunches at a McCormick & Schmidts in Pittsburgh just a few miles from his home and regularly orders in catered lunches for Capitol denizens that WTAE says can cost $10,000 a-week; Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Pittsburgh, threw a nearly $10,000 luncheon party for 500 people in the Capitol last December.

BE: Guess they get hungry. Ya gotta eat.

JB: Both these clowns are in leadership posts. Fontanna is Democratic Caucus boss; Dermody is Democratic floor leader.

BE: Well, they're feeding their flocks.

JB: FLOCK THEM! When WTAE asked Fontanna why lawmakers and staff can't bring their lunches, you know, like so many workers in the real world (HOW OFTEN DO TAXPAYERS BUY YOU LUNCH??), he said, "We certainly could, but I don't know that anybody brings their own lunch."

BE: A man of the people. One wonders what else he doesn't know.

JB: Decency, would be my guess.

BE: What did Dermody say?

JB: You mean about the catered crab fondue, turkey with Dutch stuffing, mashed potatoes and apple walnut cake, $9,698 worth for 500 of his closest friends? Apparently, neither he nor his spokesman responded.

BE: Probably taught not to talk with their mouths full.



Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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