Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oh, Just Bill Me

Bill DeWeese continues to be a thorn for Gov. Corbett.

Oh, Just Bill Me

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

JB: Our old friend Bill DeWeese, the western Pa lawmaker and former House Speaker charged with multiple felonies in 2009 in connection with a sweeping probe of the legislature, re-elected last year and awaiting trial, continues to hammer at Gov. Corbett.

BE: Because Corbett, as attorney general, is the one who got him?

JB: Yep. And now DeWeese used the state's right-to-know law to get details related to Corbett's decision to nix a huge state prison that was slated to be built in DeWeese's Fayette County district, bringing a ton of jobs there.

BE: Details on something that's not going to happen. What could be more valuable?

JB: Well, here's what he found. In planning to build the prison, taxpayers spent $2.25 million, according to a report in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, including $1.65 million to a Philly construction firm, Hill International, for "construction management."

BE: Nice pay to manage construction that isn't going to happen.

JB: There was also $431,199 to another Philly firm, Heery International, for "construction management," and $163,742 to Philly legal firm Duane Morris for "legal services."

BE: This prison-that-isn't was good for Philly's economy.

JB: Well, remember who was Guv when it was authorized.

BE: I wonder if any of those firms were contributors? Anyway,  the new Guv says the prison isn't needed. But what about the $2 million down the drain?

JB: Well, the new Guv's press guy says we spent $2 million to determine we didn't need a $200 million jail. Press secretary Kevin Harley put it this way: "In the big picture, this is clearly a win for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."

BE: Especially the taxpayers working at Duane Morris, Heery and Hill.

JB: Money for nothin' and chicks for free.

BE: Have you been drinking?

JB: Oh, that reminds me. Yesterday's Growl on hunters and furtakers no longer drinking as much mentioned a bill to extend happy hours and allow bars to sell bottles of unopened wine to go.

BE: And?

JB: Well, that last part was pulled from an item in the usually-reliable Harrisburg Patriot. But today, The Patriot has a correction noting bars will not be able to sell unopened wine to go.

BE: That puts a crimp in my furtaking plans.

JB: Buck up. No word on whether they can sell unopened Wild Turkey to go.

BE: I frequently hunt for Wild Turkey. Maybe those Philly firms can send some unopened Wild Turkey to the jobless in Fayette County.

JB: And bill the taxpayers. Grrrr.





John Baer 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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