Bonusgate not prompting as much reform as expected

    Recently leaked emails have linked two Democratic lawmakers to an ongoing illegal campaign work scheme in Harrisburg that’s been called “Bonusgate.” One analyst says the developments don’t seem to be having much of an impact on Pennsylvania voters’ perceptions of state government.

    Recently leaked emails have linked two Democratic lawmakers to an ongoing illegal campaign work scheme in Harrisburg that’s been called “Bonusgate.” One analyst says the developments don’t seem to be having much of an impact on Pennsylvania voters’ perceptions of state government.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090410bonus.mp3]

    In recent days, emails given to reporters by a “Bonusgate” defendant have alleged then-Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese approved the extension of a contract for an aide to Representative Jennifer Mann who was doing campaign work for another Democrat.

    Both lawmakers say they did nothing wrong, and the aide wasn’t being rewarded for improper campaigning, but the leaks are the latest trickle in an ongoing probe of state corruption that’s resulted in 12 indictments so far.

    Political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College says he’s a bit surprised the investigations haven’t spurred more reform efforts.

    Madonna: By and large the reform agenda in the legislature has been stillborn. Lots of ideas peculating around. A host of new members who came bent on reform, but very little has been done to change what I think most of us would refer to as the culture in Harrisburg.

    Madonna says voters don’t seem too moved by the possible corruption, either, noting a lack of public demand for reform.

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