For Immediate Release
September 13, 2005
Contact: Barry Kauffman
Common Cause/PA Executive Director Barry Kauffman Urges Repeal of the Unconstitutional Legislative Pay Raises
Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA -- Good morning. Sixty-eight days ago, 119 members of the PA House of Representatives, and 27 members of the PA Senate, violated their oaths of office when they knowingly defied at least six sections of the Pennsylvania constitution -- including all four mandates of Article II, Section 8 which specify terms and conditions for lawmakers pay -- when they passed Act 44. In those dark mid night hours of July 7 they also violated key public protection principles of the U.S. Constitution.
Today's message from Common Cause to Pennsylvania lawmakers is:
REPEAL -- REPAY -- REFORM -- or RESIGN.
REPEAL the unconstitutionally enacted Act 44 by passing HB-1945. It's time to do the right thing.
REPAY the illegally obtained money. Illegally obtained money does not belong to you. Return it to the state Treasury where it belongs. Donating the illegal pay raise to charities, as an act of political penance is not acceptable. It is a bit like taking someone else's credit card to make a donation.
REFORM the way you pass laws. Clean up your act. Pledge to scrupulously honor the state constitution when enacting laws -- both the spirit and the letter of the constitution. You soon will have constituents giving you the opportunity to take such a pledge. Do it. Honor your oath of office in which you swear to "support, obey and defend" both the state and federal constitutions. In your dash for cash on July 7, you broke that promise.
RESIGN if the rewards of office are not acceptable to you. Both Ben Franklin and Governor William Scranton warned against public officials who would take offices of honor and convert them into opportunities for personal profit. They admonished us that this was a violation of their public trust. All lawmakers knew what the rewards of their offices were when they accepted their posts. If the lure of riches outstrips the desire for public service they should return to the private sector. Ripping off taxpayers is not an acceptable alternative.
Do the right thing.
REPEAL - REPAY - REFORM or RESIGN.
Office: Common Cause Pennsylvania
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.