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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Senator Mellow's "Interesting" Timing

For a while The Scranton Times has been hammering State Senator Robert Mellow over the whopping $188,000 his campaigns have written out to simply "cash" over the years. While I'm not a lawyer, it seems to me that cash payments like this are intended for minor expenses, not those totally nearly two hundred thousand dollars. Senator Mellow's initial response to this controversy was to hand over copies of the checks...the FRONT SIDE of the checks. You know, this would be the side that simply says that the check was made out to cash, not who endorsed the check. Anyway, I believe it was yesterday (or it could have been this morning) that the Senator's advisers handed over the back-sides of the checks. Good for Senator Mellow and great work on the part of Times.

What happened next?

Well Senator Mellow quickly announces that he is retiring. Article link HERE.

Now is it me or is it just a coincidence that the resignation comes on the heels of surrendering the endorsed copies of the above mentioned cash payments? When it comes to politics...particularly in this area...I don't readily believe in coincidences.

So what to make of all this? At this stage I am unsure. As I've written before, it's my opinion that Senator Mellow should have resigned years ago:

  • The issue with the nearly two hundred thousand dollars in cash campaign payments.
  • He has engaged in blatant conflicts of interest by accepting Board positions with institutions (such as BC/BS of NEPA) that he can indirectly have a hand in regulating via proposing/voting on legislation, acting on appointments, etc. If I engaged in similar behavior at work I would be told to resign from the Board(s) or face termination of employment.
  • It has been reported that he crafted a deal whereby the state was paying him to rent property for his own office at a higher-than-market rates.
  • His blatant disregard for constituents who were rightfully enraged to over the last legislative late-night pay raise.
  • His penchant for using OUR MONEY to have things named after him. I wrote something about two years ago about how anything named "Mellow _______" should instead be renamed "Taxpayer __________" as I highly doubt that the Senator has been spreading nearly has much personal cash around as he has been spreading out ours.

Needless to say, I am glad to see the Senator retire. Here's to hoping that his replacement will have an ever so slightly smaller ego and a stronger desire for constituent...rather than personal... enrichment. This, coupled with the indictments in Luzerne County (and at least one possible indictment in Lackawanna County) could mark the end of the "political favors as a cottage industry" that has been the hallmark of NEPA for decades.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think Sen Mellow's arrogance, sense of entitlement and blatant corruption fit right in with the rest of our so-called representatives in Harrisburg. Did you see Gene Yaw (Susquehanna) and his response to his poor constituents in Dimock who have flammable, toxic water coming out of their faucets?: Its a 'private' matter and he doesnt want to get involved!!! I'll bet he got involved when it came time to collect his check from the gas industry.

Stephen Albert said...

Thanks for the comment.

I saw the story on Mr Yaw...and sadly I think it's just the beginning for the people who live near gas exploration wells. It's as if people have forgotten about the 100 years of environmental damage done by coal mining...we more than anyone else...should know the dangers of under-regulated energy exploration.

As for Senator Mellow, well maybe the best is yet to many ways.