Pittsburgh’s hottest political action committee is “Better Jobs, Better Future”, or BJBF.
It has everything: Chelsa-smashing, Council-whipping, and centrist triangulating. There are donor congas — that thing of when politicians with access to money open up all sorts of new money appendages to each other.
[Allegheny County Controller Chelsa] Wagner called the group’s activities, which extend to county council races, “terribly concerning” and said they jeopardize checks and balances in county government.
“If we cannot have a government where this is a healthy discourse and dissent, I think it’s pretty clear that this is not a strong or functioning form of government.”. (P-G, Potter & Born)
That’s a little overblown. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s BJBF is not set up as one of those “dark money” PACs. Apparently, it must disclose its activity in and out.
The public disclosure deadline for political spending is “early May”, which is a concern; that can’t be long before our May 19th elections. That non-fatal flaw in our campaign finance laws is crying out for a fix!
Similarly, if the County Controller truly may not audit County authorities or perform certain types of audits, those laws need to be fixed pronto. Allegheny County residents deserve that all their infrastructure, transportation, airport and stadium spending, and most of their public safety spending, be scrutinized professionally by their own accountable Controller’s office. The state Auditor General’s office is far too distant and tied up with the rest of the state, to be of regular use at home.
Back to the politics of money: it’s a shame all that money and energy from the top of Pittsburgh’s political pyramid will be coming down on other local Democrats, or stashed in the piggy bank for some future spectacle. Rich Fitzgerald & Co. might otherwise address our GOP state legislature forthrightly! But alas regionally, most Democratic officeholders lie submissively in detente against their neighbors in both Republican majorities. Blame it on the need to court Harrisburg.
Our real concern with Fitz’s BJBF begins and ends in whether its flow of resources is transparent enough to judge its nature and motives. That’s the reason four years ago, Fitzgerald pledged to post County spending online — so we can together root out political waste and inefficiency in government…
Is County spending yet posted online? I cannot find it.