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Ed Rendell in Trouble

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Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell helped push through a midnight pay raise for Pennsylvania state legislators of about 16%, and used a trick to get around a ban on such things by placing the raise in the legislators expense accounts. The voters of Pennsylvania are ticked. The first casualty of populist blowback was a state supreme court justice. Now the anti-pay raise forces are targeting legislators themselves, and Rendell:

“All of the politicians who said that people don’t care about this stuff, that they don’t understand it, they were wrong,” said Tim Potts, founder of Democracy Rising, the group that led the campaign against Nigro and Newman. “Who is not smart enough now?”

The next battleground is the 2006 elections, when all 203 House seats and half of those in the 50-member Senate, as well as Gov. Rendell’s tenure, will be on the ballot. The anti-pay-raise groups have announced that they have lined up 51 people to run against incumbent lawmakers

Rendell’s role:

July 6 — When asked to comment on legislators’ taking pay raises through expense accounts, circumventing a constitutional ban on midterm raises, he said: “It’s legal – and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

July 8 – Calling the pay-raise legislation a “good bill,” he signed it into law because it contained more good than bad, specifically providing raises for judges.

The GOP:

“There is one person who could have stopped it, and that is Ed Rendell,” said Ray Zaborney, executive director of Lynn Swann’s likely GOP gubernatorial bid.

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