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Hey <<First Name>>,

You can't make this stuff up.

Hours after our investigation revealed how Pa. lawmakers hide millions of dollars in campaign expenses, the GOP-controlled Legislature quietly moved to further reduce oversight and make it even harder to hold them accountable.

That's right. Their response to poor transparency? Even less transparency.

To recap, the investigation found a laundry list of expenses that were impossible to detect from publicly filed campaign reports. The spending included foreign trips, sports tickets, limos, pricey dinners and more.

The only reason we now know about that spending is because a team of reporters with Spotlight PA and The Caucus spent a year using a little-known provision of the state law to demand more information.

Now, lawmakers want to make that process even less accessible. On Tuesday, they quietly tucked a new provision into a wider bill on voting reforms that would remove the oversight of the Department of State, leaving campaigns to police themselves, and force the public to sue if denied access.

Campaigns could also deny access if someone makes multiple requests for the same records and the requests "have placed an unreasonable burden."

What constitutes an unreasonable burden? That will be up to the campaigns.

And it appears these changes could become law, as the larger bill was negotiated with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and has his support.

This is exactly why it's so important to have dedicated investigative journalists in Harrisburg. There's too much at stake to leave powerful politicians to police themselves. Help us stay on this story.

Support our newsroom and become a Founding Donor now.

And if you already support us, thank you for powering such important work.


Christopher Baxter
Editor in Chief, Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/The Patriot-News.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

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