Friday File

June 16, 2017

Rendell refutes claims of misspent taxpayer dollars on DNC

Former Governor Ed Rendell responded late last month to claims from legislators that a surplus of taxpayer dollars from last summer’s Democratic National Convention was misspent. Rendell’s response to a letter from legislators that stated PA’s taxpayers “want and need our money back” was that the state money was spent appropriately and came with restrictions. He laid out how that money was spent and went on to say that it was separated from all other funds raised for the DNC. He noted that the surplus was from the funds raised and not the grant from the state and was, in fact, less than previously reported. He did not dispute that staff was paid from that surplus but instead of “bonuses” he called those payments “deferred compensation.” Rendell said that full time staffers were not fairly compensated for their skill sets because there was no way to tell how much money they’d be able to raise. He also suggested lawmakers enact a severance tax to aid in their budget woes rather than ask for a surplus that he says was raised through the Host Committee’s own efforts.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is conducting an audit on the matter and the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on July 13 to examine how the money was spent. Rendell will be in attendance at that hearing.