HARRISBURG – Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette) sent the following letter to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today to officially request a review of the casino gaming Local Share Account (LSA) approval process in Washington County:
“As a member of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, I respectfully request a review of the Local Share Account process oversight of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), specific to Washington County.
“Since I was sworn in as the Representative of the 49th Legislative District in January 2017, I have asked many questions. My findings have led me to the realization that reforms are desperately needed to ensure that the LSA grant program is held accountable, while guaranteeing the utmost integrity, fairness, and most importantly, open and transparent allocation of taxpayer dollars.
“My primary reasons for calling for this review are as follows:
• To my knowledge, the LSA Grant Program does not require or maintain adequate voting records or meeting minutes regarding how the review committee votes, deliberates and/or discusses why they support and/or reject applicants or their respective funding requests.
Solution: Voting records, meeting minutes and correspondence shall be maintained and provided by the LSA Review Committee.
• To my knowledge, the LSA Grant Program Review Committee members do not complete an ethics statement regarding potential conflicts of interest with grant awards that could benefit a group, organization or business from which they directly and/or indirectly could benefit.
Solution: Members of the LSA Grant Review Committee shall complete and disclose ethics statements before being appointed to the committee. In addition, no group, organization or business shall be eligible for a grant award if an individual on the LSA Grant Review Committee has a conflict of interest.
• To my knowledge, the LSA Grant Review Committee has numerous individuals who serve on the committee annually.
Solution: Members of the LSA Grant Review Committee should change annually and no individual should serve on the committee more than one year in sequence.
“Without establishing this type of reform, major concerns will remain regarding conflicts of interest, special interest earmarking of funds or insider deliberation of projects in advance of the grant presentations.
“We owe it to the taxpayers we represent to ensure that LSA funding is allocated with integrity, transparency, and above all, that projects are funded based upon their value to our communities and the opportunities to improve the quality of life for all.”
Cook will further discuss his soon-to-be introduced reform legislation that would change the casino gaming LSA grant approval process in Washington County, and the recently awarded $45,000 DCED Early Intervention Program grant to allow financially distressed Charleroi Borough to hire financial consultants to help develop and implement a five-year financial management plan, at Wednesday evening’s borough council meeting.
Beginning at 6 p.m., the meeting will be held at the Charleroi Borough Building, 338 Fallowfield Avenue.
For the latest district event information and state government updates, visit RepBudCook.com
49th Legislative District
Representative Bud Cook
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin