Lt. Gov. Mike Stack racked up $73,403.01 on Clif Bars, sparkling water, squeezable packets of apple sauce and on a mind-blowing array of items over two years. The Caucus writers discover these purchases after gaining access to Stack’s state-provided credit card records through the Right to Know Law. Though Stack’s office claims these expenses were for business use, writers Mike Wereschagin and Brad Bumsted find their explanations questionable.
Convicted + Cashing In
The Caucus reporters question why state workers who commit serious crimes are still collecting pensions. Their investigation reveals numerous instances of state employees, including former state troopers, ex-school teachers, and ex-judges receiving benefits from the pension system after being convicted and sentenced for their crimes. Gary L. Weckerly, a former Clarion shop teacher, is serving a 10-20 year sentence for child rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, yet he gets about $45,000 a year in state pension benefits.
Injustice to Taxpayers?
An alphabet soup of state agencies with overlapping duties spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on juvenile justice, a system described by critics as occasionally chaotic and an unnecessary duplication of services that waste taxpayer money. With consolidation being all the rage in state government, why isn’t anyone evaluating the agencies responsible for serving troubled youth?
Branded For Life
Seventeen years after pleading guilty to sex crimes, a former state trooper was placed on the Megan’s Law registry after an investigation by The Caucus prompted the Board of Probation and Parole to review his case. Evan’s case is one example of many that illustrate Pennsylvania’s Marathon legal battle over registration of child sex offenders, which impacts the lives of victims and offenders.
At The Trough
The committee that organized the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia awarded more than $900,000 in bonuses to staffers and handed out 1.2 million in grants, it has been revealed. The handouts sparked a firestorm because the committee was funded, in part, by taxpayers. The Caucus reporters follow the money trail, providing us with a detailed timeline of events, which ultimately leads us to the list naming each bonus and grant recipient.
In The Shadows
An investigation by The Caucus reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers are funding lobbying efforts by local government associations, which critics say undermine the public’s right to obtain more government documents and provide accountability for closed-door sessions. Reporters Paula Knudsen and Brad Bumsted question the quasi-government groups funding these efforts and seek answers from those fighting for legislation to eliminate Pennsylvania’s hidden layers of lobbying.