Don't think that happens here? Look no farther than Easton, where politician Mike Fleck brazenly defends a $1,500 campaign contribution from the city's own financial advisor, Concord Public Finance. "If you disagree with that reform the system because 90% of the pols. in the Valley do that."
Fleck also thinks it's perfectly OK that the city's financial advisor treat the entire city council (and their families) to baseball games (although he claims it's only the Reading Phillies), but refuses to name the council members involved. "I am not going to expose people to your anal probe for a family friendly Father's Day outing that they threw for most of their clients."
Fortunately for us, the supremes' edict applies to any municipality governed by a home rule charter. In the Lehigh Valley, that includes both Northampton and Lehigh Counties as well as the three cities - Bethlehem, Allentown and Easton. Instead of waiting for reform from the land of midnight payraises - hell will freeze over before that happens - we can simply adopt our own fleckin' campaign finance laws. Zack Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy, a Philly watchdog group, explains why. "It's clearly changed the landscape already, in the sense that the big donors - the corporations or law firms or unions with big political action committees - are already finding themselves with less clout."
I am delighted to read that Bethlehem council member J. Michael Schweder has taken the initiative to propose contribution limits on candidates seeking office in Bethlehem. He even wants finance reports made available for public inspection at city hall. The Express Times summarizes his proposal here.
In September, I suggested that both counties post locally filed campaign finance reports online. How hard is that? If I could post reports filed by county council candidates here, couldn't the two largest governments in the Lehigh Valley make these reports available as well? I believe both counties are looking into this possibility.
Update #2: A bill similar to Scwhweder's proposal is being considered in Pittsburgh.