Watchdog group hits Argall on per diems
Just one week after announcing his candidacy in the 17th Congressional District, state Senator Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) is taking flak for the dozens of per diem expenses he racked up while the state legislature was locked in last year’s budget impasse.
The government watchdog group RockTheCapital.org said Tuesday that, between last March and September, Argall had billed the state for 71 per diem expenses totaling almost $10,000. Fifty-nine of those per diems, the group said, fell on days the legislature was in session.
“There he goes again,” RockTheCapital.org‘s coordinator Eric Epstein said in a statement. “Mr. Argall has a history of abusing per diems. Unfortunately for the taxpayer, there is absolutely no accountability built into the system. It’s obscene to be rewarded for not getting the budget done.”
Per diems, the reimbursements intended for expenses such as lodging and transportation incurred during the course of legislators’ work, have often been a lightning rod for good-government advocates because receipts are not required, making transparent accountability a difficult proposition.
An aide to the Argall campaign did not immediately return a request seeking comment. Republicans see Argall as their best chance to knock off Congressman Tim Holden (D-17) in years. But from the moment he entered the race, Democrats have assailed him for his role in crafting the notorious legislative pay raise that incensed voters in 2005.
January 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm