In the latest twist in the slow-motion car crash of state Rep. Nick Miccarelli's political career, he announced that he would not run for reelection in November – but would also not be stepping down until Nov. 30 from his post.
Why would someone whose ability to do his job has clearly been compromised by the continuing cascade of opprobrium over his alleged sexual misconduct – a state House investigation found the charges brought against him by two accusers to be "credible," and the matter is now being investigated by the Dauphin County DA – decide to stay? Why put yourself through the shame of showing up to a job where leadership has publicly called on you to step down for the good of the legislative body and the commonwealth?
One word: benefits. As the Patriot-News laid out so convincingly, if he stays on the job until Nov. 30, Miccarelli will be "eligible to receive lifetime taxpayer-funded health, dental, vision, prescription and long-term health care benefits" thanks to accruing 10 years of legislative service.
If this isn't why Miccarelli has decided that the best course of action is to proceed as the public face of sexual misconduct in the Capitol, then he needs to convincingly and vigorously disprove it. If this is the reason for his decision to cling to his position, then he leaves House leadership no choice but to begin expulsion proceedings. Justice and integrity demand nothing less.
PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor: In a forceful defense of both his Democratic colleagues on the state’s high court and the role of the judicial branch, Saylor excoriated the hard-right contingent of House members calling for impeachment proceedings for the four justices who voted to enact the state’s new congressional maps. “Threats of impeachment directed against Justices because of their decision in a particular case are an attack upon an independent judiciary, which is an essential component of our constitutional plan of government,” Chief Justice Thomas Saylor said in a statement.
The Wolf administration: It’s not every week four cabinet-level positions get filled, but that’s what happened when the state Senate confirmed Gov. Tom Wolf’s choices to replace a quartet of cabinet members who left for various reasons recently. The new members: Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith, and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.
William McSwain: The former Drinker, Biddle & Reath prosecutor was sworn in as the new U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Shannon Edwards: The woman whose affair with then-US Rep. Tim Murphy led to his resignation and the PA-18 special election had her own political aspirations cut short this week. Edwards, who announced she would run as a Republican in the new PA-18 to unseat Democratic incumbent Mike Doyle, failed to submit her paperwork to do so by Tuesday’s deadline. No reason was given.
Ken Smukler: The longtime political consultant, already charged for his alleged role in an illegal payoff scheme to get a primary opponent of US Rep. Bob Brady in 2012, saw his legal woes grow this week. Federal prosecutors charged him with obstructing a federal investigation and concealing illegal contributions to Marjorie Margolies, a former member of the US House of Representatives, during her 2014 campaign to return to the House.
Philadelphia taxpayers: As if it wasn’t bad enough to read about their taxes going toward a whopping $320,970 for a new fleet of 13 SUVs for City Council members to enjoy during their terms, an investigation revealed that Council members who took advantage of the free rides also pumped free gas from city-owned filling sites – to the tune of about $46,000 last year. Philadelphia is one of a handful of cities in the United States to provide such a perk.