It’s hard to imagine an easier week to summarize than the one bookended by Trumpcare and President Trump’s first budget. Winners: those who really don’t need any additional assistance. Losers: Those who really do.
In fact, the only surprising thing about the week that was is the way GOP leaders – from Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, to the president himself – unrepentantly owned their actions. It’s been kind of shockingly refreshing – like seeing Professor X dropping F-bombs in “Logan,” to hear politicians confirm that they are who we thought they were.
Since these guys do such a great job explaining their own wealth redistribution plans and death panels, and since there are so many more pols taking the L than usual, let’s get right to the raison d’être:
Eugene DePasquale: The state’s auditor general is being sued by an anti-choice organization being investigated by his office. Real Alternatives, which receives money from the state, argues that DePasquale’s audit of the group is outside his bailiwick. As Winston Churchill put it so aptly, “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Rich Negrín: It was a big week for this Democratic candidate for Philly DA. In addition to winning the endorsements of the FOP, the Guardian Civic League and the Spanish American Law Enforcement Association, Negrín drew pole position on the ballot – which could be a deciding factor in a race with seven candidates.
Michael Nutter: Considering how vociferous he was in denouncing City Controller Alan Butkovitz and his report claiming that Nutter lieutenant Desiree Petekin-Bell treated the Mayor’s Fund like “a personal slush fund,” Nutter has been remarkably silent over a brutal Inquirer exclusive exposing his refusal to heed his own Inspector General’s recommendation to fire then-City Representative Melanie Johnson on suspicion of misspending tens of thousands of dollars of city funds – including $248 on chocolate-covered pretzels(!) for a Johnson family funeral. Other than a terse emailed statement that conceded Johnson’s spending sprees were “unnecessary, and reflected poor judgment,” the man who long portrayed himself as the most ethical official in the city had nothing else to say.
Richard Ireland: As his pay-to-play trial continued in US District Court, the Chester County businessman’s recorded conversations with then-state treasurer Rob McCord continued to build the case against him.
Clarena Tolson: What would you do to set an example if you were hired to replace someone who left in disgrace over, among other things, patronage charges? If you’re Tolson, who was brought in to clean up the Philadelphia Parking Authority after the long-burning and long-ignored dumpster fire of Vince Fenerty’s reign, you hire your daughter’s roommate to a post that seems to have been created especially for her. Not the best look for a reformer, but what do we know?
Daryl Metcalfe: A public service message from the Republican PA House member from Butler County: No need to worry about the “illegal alien invasion” of the commonwealth, because he and his GOP comrades in the House have got your back. How? By reintroducing a slew of bills, most of which have previously been rejected by the Legislature, designed to target everything from “benefit transfer devices” like ACCESS cards to revoking the licenses of businesses that don’t use the e-Verify system to economic sanctions of sanctuary campuses.
Seth Grove: You would think that with the panoply of ills facing not just the state in general, but his own district of York County in particular, that the Republican Rep. would have better things to focus on than the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
And you would be wrong. Using Independent Fiscal Office data that shows the city’s tax is likely not having a negative impact on state sales tax revenue, Grove is arguing that the tax is driving shoppers out of the city and out of the state for their purchases, thus hurting revenue. An interesting argument to make, considering the tolls, gas and time that would be required to avoid a tax that has already shown concrete benefits to the city’s coffers and expanded pre-K.