Pa. activists press for continuation of ‘Bonusgate’ probe

    Government reform advocates on Thursday marked the anniversary of the 2005 early-morning legislative pay increases in Pennsylvania.

    They’ve put together a report on the impact the salary hikes have had as they call for continued investigation into lawmakers’ actions.

    The activists descended on the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg Thursday for their annual reminder: those pay raises the General Assembly voted to give itself six years ago–the ones ruled unconstitutional–are still costing taxpayers.

    Eric Epstein, of Rock the Capital, says certain legislators were able to collect their extra pay early and keep it because those increases were classified as unvouchered expenses.

    And he says the lawmakers who got them saw a hike in their state pensions as a result.

    “Unvouchered expenses and the pension bounce that folks got continue to cost taxpayers, continue to cost taxpayers for the foreseeable future,” he said. “This is not an event that has an ending.”

    The reform advocates are also calling on the state attorney general’s office to file criminal charges against Senate lawmakers and staff involved in the legislative corruption case known as “Bonusgate.”

    They say the five-year statute of limitations on such crimes expires this year.

    A representative of the attorney general’s office said Thursday an investigation is ongoing, but that the office cannot comment on it.

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