Gene Stilp's lawsuit trying to force the Auditor General to audit the legislative slush funds was dismissed yesterday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The activist was trying to force some openness and accountability to funds which have been the result of criminal investigations by the Attorney General. The state legislature does not allow the Commonwealth to audit its finances. It approved over $300 million in expenditures this budget year but will not allow the people to see how it spends those funds.
We're discovering how bit by bit however. State lawmakers use this money for those glossy full color mailings instead of simple black and white newsletters. They use this money to pay for breakfasts which really are campaign events because not everyone is invited and they're, conveniently, only held in even numbered (election) years. We learned they were also used to pay legislative staffers for their campaign work.
Heaven only knows what other abuses have been committed because the Supreme Court refused to allow Mr. Stilp legal standing to demand accountability. Of course the Supreme Court has been part of the problem itself. Ralph Cappy and others decided they wanted a raise and plotted with legislative leaders to pass one in the middle of the night. The Court then ruled only their raises constitutional. How convenient!
Justice Ronald Castille wrote this opinion and chastised Gene Stilp with this statement:
"The fact that Stilp has a different view of the auditor general's authority, or the role of his office, does not make him better situated than the official. Nor do Stilp's self-serving assertions of his own status, and his gratuitous denigration of elected officials, make him an appropriate party to litigate any question concerning the duties attendant upon an elective office."
I found this very offensive. I know Gene Stilp and if anyone is NOT self serving, it's him. He files these suits to bring openness and accountability to state government and is stifled at every turn by a bureaucracy opposed to such policies. Gene does this on behalf of all of us and does it at his own expense. We are all indebted to him for his efforts. We all know who is actually being self serving: the state legislature and the Supreme Court Justices. Shame.