Sunday, March 02, 2008


The Collegian today in its editorial asks Graham to prove Penn State's efficiency. Let's take a look at one area where some cuts might be made.

The Commonwealth requires that all lobbyists to file quarterly expense reports which the Commonwealth places online. These reports must be filed by any entity which incurs more that $2,500 in expense while lobbying the state in any given quarter.

The reports are broken down into three categories: gifts, hospitality, lodging and transportation for state officials and their immediate family; direct communications; and indirect communications. Direct communication are contacts between lobbyists and officials, while indirect communications are expenses incurred while encouraging third parties to contact state officials.

The first below table contains the quarterly expense reports for the Penn State, Pitt, Temple for 2007.
Read this doc on Scribd: Expenses 2007

Penn State out spent the other two schools in every quarter except the second when Temple was the big spender. In the third quarter Penn State out spent the other two schools combined. Penn State out spent the other two school over the year in gifts and direct communications. While Temple edged out Penn State on indirect communications.

The lobbyist must also file two lists. The first is a list of state officials who receive gifts of $250 or more in aggregate and the amount each received. The second is a list of state officials who received $650 or more in aggregate for transportation, lodging and hospitality and the amount each received.

None of the schools reported any gifts of $250 or more and neither Pitt nor Temple reported any expenses for transportation, hospitality or lodging of $650 or more. However, in the fourth quarter of last year Penn State did report such expenses, which are in second table above.

In the fourth quarter Penn State spent $35, 166 on gifts, etc, which includes the transportation, hospitality and lodging, but only had to itemize $7,950 in transportation, etc.... That leaves, $27,216 in unaccounted for expenses. If it all went to transportation, etc, then Penn State gave to a minimum of 42 additional officials. If it all went to gifts, then Penn State gave to a minimum of 110 additional officials. I wonder who they were?

The schools also have to list the general area which they lobbied on in the quarter. Temple lists only education in all four quarters. Pitt leaves the field blank in all but one quarter in which it lists education.

Penn State has a laundry list in each quarter. The most notable subject is Freedom of Information which appears in all four quarters. That would be lobbying by Penn State to abridge our access to information. Also worth noting is Penn State's lobbying on property taxes. I believe the county was looking to collect $250k in-lieu-of-taxes from Penn State. The University could have cut back a little on lobbying and paid the bill.

With all this money spent by the three schools, the Governor Rendell has proposed to increase the state appropriation to each school by only 1.5%.

If you are a Penn State student you have to ask if spending this money on lobbying is working for you. Your tuition will be going up and you don't have the right to find out how those tuition dollars are being spent.

Below are links to the quarterly reports for the schools.

Penn State Pitt Temple
Q1 Q1

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