Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clearing the Record


Steve Maitland’s self-serving statements in the Gettysburg and Hanover papers today simply reinforce the fact this man just does not get it. Maitland did something very wrong. He took money that did not belong to him. He can continue to rationalize his actions until the cows come home, but he has kept unconstitutionally received income illegally. If defeat at the polls doesn’t drive that fact home then he had better stay out of the courtroom when he gets his law degree, as a jury will eat him alive using the kind of (il)logic by which he has been guiding himself for the past year.

Maitland voted for the pay raise. Maitland took the unvouchered expense. Maitland insists on keeping the money and using it for personal reasons. Additionally, that money will go toward increasing his Legislative pension, greatly inflated by a 50% increase he helped pass a few years back.

The people of Pennsylvania dumped 15 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in yesterday’s Primary Elections, and two State Senators. Maitland was one of the House members dumped.

All of them, that is all 15 House members, and both Senators (Jubelirer and Brightbill) voted to pass the Midnight Pay Raise, then took the unvouchered expense money. Of the 17 legislators dumped by the voters yesterday, only Jubelirer, Brightbill, Baldwin, Leh, Pistella and Armstrong have either paid back the money or made arrangements to pay it back.

Maitland has not.

The people of Pennsylvania demand ethics.

Now, Maitland is putting partisan politics in front of his own constituents wishes, when he vows to support his Primary opponent, the David LeVan-paid-for Dan Moul.

Obviously, either Maitland never really cared what his constituents told him or he is angry enough to turn on them now.

The situation is far simpler than Steve Maitland makes it out to be: he did wrong. He simply refused to grasp the gravity of his keeping the unvouchered expense and using it for personal reasons. He rationalized that he never took any of the lobbyists money, or the state perks. He claims he saved the taxpayers $300,000 by not taking the perks. That's fine, Steve, but what about the $6,000 you kept from an unconstitutionally passed Pay Raise, that has since been repealed? What about the future money you will receive based on that $6,000 that will be paid to you through your retirement fund from the legislature? What about that 50% increase in your retirement that you voted for a few years ago?

Don't worry, Steve, you were right about the $300,000. But you were horribly wrong about the $6,000. And neither one justifies the other!

He lost touch with his moral base, and in a decidedly red county that's political suicide.

Maitland, in his last six months of public service, can partially redeem himself by two actions: give back the money, and support Alan Naugle. Even though Naugle is a Democrat, the casino (and the pay raise) go much farther than partisan politics. Maitland has nothing to lose by supporting Naugle, and everything to gain.

The first step, however, must be to recognize that taking and keeping the money was a wrongful act, and that he must pay back the money.

Then he needs to work against the casino like he never has before – in the hustings. He needs to put partisanship aside for the betterment of his constituents and campaign against Moul, and that means campaigning for Naugle.

It won’t turn the county blue, but it will make for a better county.

And hopefully, Maitland can sleep better at night, knowing he finally is doing the right thing.

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