Adding a watchdog with teeth to Pa. politics

    A parade of politicians getting indicted or convicted leads to a bi-partisan plan for an ethics enforcer.

    A bi-partisan group of Pennsylvania lawmakers say the state’s ethics board does not have enough authority to oversee political corruption. They announced Monday a proposal to replace the board with a new agency that has more teeth.

    The lawmakers say corruption is rampant at the state level. Their legislation would give the proposed Public Integrity Commission subpoena power, law enforcement authority and the ability to grant immunity to witnesses.

    Alan Hornblum is a former member of the Pennsylvania Crime Commissioin. He says the legislation is long overdue.

    “When you start sending more members of the legislature and the judiciary to prison than mafia members, you know something’s wrong.”

    Two former Speakers of the House are awaiting trial and former State Senator and power-broker Vincent Fumo is serving time.

    The bill is sponsored by Republican Curt Schroder of Chester County and is supported by good-government reform groups such as Common Cause and Democracy Rising. Schroder admits getting it through the General Assembly will be an uphill battle.

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