More Losing PA Lawmakers Land Upright

In yet another example of how the culture of PA politics protects it own, two state lawmakers unable to hold onto the seats this year will remain in legislative jobs at taxpayers' expense.

The online news service capitolwire.com reports that the pair -- one who lost in last spring's primary after being dogged by personal financial issues and one who opted not to seek reelection after he was charged with domestic violence and drunk driving -- start new jobs in legislative support posts on Monday.

It's a classic example of one of the Legislature's prime directives: charity begins at home so long as we can use taxpayers' money.

Rep. Joe Brennan, D-Lehigh County, was charged back in August with assaulting his wife then driving drunk. He opted not to seek reelection to a fourth House term. He's been hired as a "research analyst" for a House policy office.

Rep. Ken Smith, D-Lawkawanna County, lost his reelection bid for a fourth term in the primary. He owed $250,000 in back taxes and unpaid bills on a family restaurant in South Scranton. His new job is in the Office of Member Services.

Both will be paid $72,000 a-year. Their jobs include the same generous health and pension benefits that lawmakers get.

While these two public servants are Democrats hired by Democratic leaders, Republicans have done the same in the past. It's an all too common practice designed to protect the players in our over-paid, over-perked, under-productive legislature, and it's one of the few areas in which there's bipartisan agreement: provide for ourselves.

Down economy? Job freezes? Cuts in staff? Not if you're part of the culture of politics in Pennsylvania, the land of low expectations.

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