Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Yippee, PA lawmakers get ethics training!

Just in time or a little too late, PA lawmakers undergo ethics training in the Capitol. And guess who pays?

Yippee, PA lawmakers get ethics training!

Hey, everybody, good news.

Just when you thought the PA Legislature was once again headed down the drain of common criminality -- four Philly lawmakers apparently caught on tape taking unreported cash; a state Senator charged with using her office for personal/political gain -- comes word that House and Senate members this week got a big helping of ethics training.

That's right, folks, it appears legislative leaders know a thing or two about timing.

House and Senate members on separate days were treated to sessions run by Washngton University (St. Louis) law professor Kathleen Clark who, appropriately enough, offered training on "conflicts of interest" and "improper influence."

I know, I know, you're thinking, hey, our lawmakers could probably offer more insight on those subjects than some law professor flown in from the Midwest.

But, consider: the training included "approaches to prevention" of ethical violations that included instruction (I am not making this up) that two principles underlying ethics in government are a "separation of governmental & campaign activity" and the idea that "public office is a public trust."

No doubt some in the audience were thinking, "NOW you tell us."

But wait, Clark, a Yale undergrad and Yale lawyer, has run ethics workshops around the globe, including in Russia, so she's used to dealing with, you know, no-goodniks.

And the best part? YOU pay for it.

A Senate spokesman says while the pricetag for sessions and Clark's travel costs haven't yet been tallied, they will be paid for from "leadership" funds -- tax dollars (usually well over $100 million) the Legislature annually squirrels away for its own use.

So rest easy, citizens. Your investment in the integrity of your elected officials is probably about to pay off.





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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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