Pa. House committee analyzes Lt. Gov. Stack’s spending; he says it’s a ‘distraction’

     Stack at a press conference he called after Governor Tom Wolf stripped him of his police detail and personal staff earlier this year. (Katie Meyer/WITF)

    Stack at a press conference he called after Governor Tom Wolf stripped him of his police detail and personal staff earlier this year. (Katie Meyer/WITF)

    Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, a Democrat, has been facing scrutiny for several months — ever since he was stripped of his police detail and personal staff for verbally abusing them.

    Now, a string of reports about his heavy spending of taxpayer money has become fodder for a House State Government Committee meeting, and potentially a larger investigation.

    The GOP-controlled panel is trying to establish whether Stack’s spending is out of line, and whether laws should be changed to reign in how much money the lieutenant governor can use.

    Much of Stack’s spending is listed as going toward groceries and other personal expenses.

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    It doesn’t appear to go beyond his budget allowances. But House State Government Committee Chair Daryl Metcalfe said it still deserves scrutiny — especially since the state is so short on cash overall.“It’s been reported the lieutenant governor spent $34,000 on food and $73,000 total between January of ’15 and March of ’17,” Metcalfe said at the hearing, referencing reporting by L&P’s The Caucus and PennLive.

    He added, “items such as New York Strip, swordfish steaks, duck breasts, mahi filet, whey protein powder, protein bars, and beer and coffee were listed in the purchases.”

    Panelists decried the lack of transparency in records of Stack’s purchases—particularly the fact that costs the Lieutenant Governor racked up over the course of his state duties aren’t explicitly differentiated from money he spent for personal use.

    They also noted that it’s difficult to tell how Stack’s spending compares to that of previous lieutenant governors.

    Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican, said he wants to hold further hearings.

    He cited Stack’s Philadelphia roots as a reason to be suspicious.

    “This lieutenant governor has brought this on himself, and it really doesn’t help that he comes from that same cloth that so many others are cut from in Philadelphia that are now convicts,” he said.

    Stack declined to appear at the meeting, instead sending Metcalfe a letter saying there is nothing wrong with his spending, and accusing the Republican of a “clumsy attempt to draw attention from renewed scrutiny on [his] statements in support of white supremacists.”

    That is in reference to a 2015 incident in which Metcalfe invited a white nationalist to the Capitol to testify at a hearing.

    In a letter of his own, Metcalfe vehemently denied being racist, and called Stack’s letter libelous, as well as “malicious, dishonest and void of integrity.”

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