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EditorialEdit

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About Bill DeWeeseEdit

Despite his mea culpas and insistent pledges that Harrisburg has heard the public's "clarion call" for reform, state Rep. H. William DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, continues proving by his actions and those of his minions that he just doesn't get it. Based on his latest stunt, we doubt, frankly, that he ever will. How else can you explain DeWeese's insider dealings uncovered this weekend by the Harriburg Patriot-News?

It seems that DeWeese, as his party's leader in the House, awarded "special meritorious bonus payments" to some of the Democratic caucus staffers under his command. The exact number of recipients and the dollar size of the bonuses aren't known, because DeWeese isn't telling. He's quite a reformer, wouldn't you say?

And don't bother asking Tom Andrews, DeWeese's spokesman, for any details, including how much of your tax money was spent for this purpose. Andrews, in a response worthy of the best bought-and-paid-for flack, told the newspaper, "That's an internal personnel matter."

Since Andrews works directly for DeWeese as the Majority Leader's press secretary, we can correctly extrapolate that he speaks for his boss. So if Andrews thinks the expenditure of taxpayer money doesn't have to be revealed to the public because it's an "internal personnel matter," then DeWeese must feel the same way, or else he'd order his spokesman to release the information.

Given DeWeese's role as an architect of the notorious 2005 pay raise, and last fall's defeat of his former right-hand man, state Rep. Mike Veon of Beaver County, you'd think that he would have learned something by now. Sadly, he has not. DeWeese apparently continues thinking that you, the paying public, will fall for his continued line of superfluous comments.

According to the Patriot-News, employees granted bonus checks by DeWeese earlier this month also received a letter urging them to keep mum about the taxpayer-funded largesse. In underlined italics, DeWeese wrote, "Since this bonus payment is of an extraordinary nature not widely received by your colleagues, we cannot stress strongly enough the need for you not to discuss this with any other staff person or member." We guess he forgot to mention "the press."

There's some real reform and a change in attitude for you, huh? To us, the new DeWeese sounds and acts a lot like the old one:Viewing the substantial amount of public money he controls as a personal bank account, one where public glimpses into the vault are to be tightly controlled and, if at all possible, completely avoided.

Citizen activist Gene Stilp has filed a lawsuit to force House leaders to reveal the extent of these bonuses. It shouldn't have to come to that, but old leopards like DeWeese apparently can't change their spots

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