Friday, December 10, 2010

PA Politicians, Business Leaders, Lobbyists Meet in NY

The state’s politicians take Manhattan this weekend for the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering. Every December, Pennsylvania’s lawmakers, donors, movers and shakers migrate east for a weekend of parties at the Waldorf Astoria and other high-end New York City hotels.
Friday and Saturday’s agendas are filled with fundraisers and cocktail receptions hosted by lobbying firms, businesses and other political groups.
Longtime attendee Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College, says this year’s events will have a different focus.

"The PA Society that accompanies the inauguration of a new governor is particularly important, because of the little gems of information that folks hope to glean about the new direction of new administration appointees, policy direction."

A centerpiece of the event is a Saturday morning forum sponsored by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association.
Governor Ed Rendell, Senator-elect Pat Toomey and Governor-elect Tom Corbett will speak at the event, along with other legislators and officials.
Not everyone’s a fan of the event.
Eric Epstein of the government reform group Rock the Capital says legislators have better ways to spend their time.

"We’re in a crisis mode. We’re experiencing a fiscal meltdown. It sends the wrong message to go hobnobbing in New York with power brokers. Right now, everybody’s asking to make sacrifices. It’s not a sacrifice when you’re going to the Waldorf Astoria to cut deals with the new administration."

Over the years, politicians have gotten in trouble for using public finances to attend the event.
Many use campaign funds to cover their travel and expenses.

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