Legislation approved on second consideration by the House would ban non-profits created by lawmakers. The bill targets economic development organizations and community groups established in a legislator’s district and funded with state money, according to the sponsor of the legislation, Jim Marshall, RBeaver.
“There have been instances where we can’t account for all the money in these taxpayer funded groups,” Marshall said. “This bill would solve that problem by simply prohibiting their creation to begin with.”
Marshall cited groups created in Beaver county by former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon. Veon awaits trial on criminal charges related to one of those groups, the Beaver Initiative for Growth, to which he funneled state money.
Veon is serving a 6- to 14-year prison sentence on a separate conviction for using public money to reward legislative staffers working on political campaigns.
Marshall said that House operating rules already ban the nonprofits but that Senate rules don’t.
"I've been pressing the issue with this bill so that the prohibition of legislative non-profits is permanent, and applies to both the House and the Senate," Marshall said.
Marshall introduced the legislation in 2007 and again in the 2009-10 legislative session. His bill was passed unanimously by the State Government Committee on January 24 of this year, and sent for consideration by the full House.
The legislation, House Bill 109, now awaits a third and final vote in the House next week before moving to the Senate for consideration.