Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Update: Which State Senators Post Their Expenses

In August, 2011, I researched the legislative websites of all of Pennsylvania's state senators, looking to see which, if any of them, posted their monthly expense reports.  I'm told these reports are available to the public whether a state senator posts them or not, but good luck finding them.  The legislative expense reports provide information on what the senators spend on rent, office expenses, newspaper subscriptions, etc.  Campaign spending reports are a different animal altogether.

At that time only one state senator, Republican Jeff Piccola, put his reports on his website.

There is a standard template for Democrats and Republicans but there is a lot of individualization, too: color schemes, links, types of information can all be customized.  Some senators list the trout stocking schedule.  You can find links to all of the Republican state senators' sites at:  http://www.pasenategop.com/; Democrats are at:  http://www.pasenate.com/.

I looked at each senator's site, and reviewed all of the links available on the main menu (mouse over the main menu bar to see the links on that topic).  It is possible that some senators included their expense reports on a secondary screen menu, but that seemed unlikely, and honestly, who is going to drill down that far?

It was interesting to note that several Republican senators had a link called "It's Your Money" that connected to information on the state budget.  Information on their own office spending?  Not so much.

So, who lists their expenses?  I found two senators, one Republican, one Democrat.  Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-15) was elected to that district when Sen. Piccola decided not to run for another term.  Sen. Teplitz is in his first term.  He provides information on specific month's expenses.  Republican Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-13) provides some general information on his expenses.

That's it.  Two of the 50 senators.  No one in a senate leadership position posts his or her expense reports.  None of the senators running for higher office post their expenses.  Smucker was first elected to the senate in 2008; Teplitz in 2012.  None of the more senior senators post theirs.

If your senator doesn't post expenses you might ask him or her why.

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