Bill to reform secretive agency behind Operation Choke Point passes U.S. House

By   /  April 24, 2015  /  National, News, Power Abuse  /  No Comments

AP file photo

Critics of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the secretive, Obama administration-created agency that oversees the U.S. Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point, won a small but key victory this week.

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Close enough for government work: This town reveals the problem with family and politics

By   /  April 23, 2015  /  Commentary, Ethics, Open Records, Pennsylvania, Power Abuse, Transparency  /  No Comments

SECRETIVE ABOUT SALARIES: Throop officials tried to keep salary records under wraps, but the state Office of Open Records ruled against the borough.

Watchdog.org was able to muster the resources to see the project through — including lawyers familiar with the ins and outs of open-records laws, the money to pay them and a reporter who simply refused to give up. But it shouldn’t take determined reporters, skillful lawyers and months of back-and-forth to get the public basic information about how their government works.

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Throop’s struggles filling jobs pays off for councilwoman’s family

By   /  April 21, 2015  /  Ethics, Local Government, Local News, News, Pennsylvania, Power Abuse  /  No Comments

Shutterstock Image

When Throop ran into obstacles filling two borough jobs, Councilwoman Charlene Tomasovitch twice had a relative who was available and qualified, she said.

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Council nepotism leads to small town government, one big family

By   /  April 20, 2015  /  Ethics, Local Government, Local News, News, Pennsylvania, Power Abuse  /  No Comments

Photo from Throopboro.com

A PA Independent investigation found that family members of at least five of the seven Throop council persons have worked for the borough within the past five years.

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Federal court: no liability for PA judge who made up criminal charge

By   /  April 13, 2015  /  Accountability, First Amendment, judicial accountability, Judiciary, Local Government, Local News, News, Pennsylvania, Power Abuse  /  No Comments

Shutterstock image

The 3rd Circuit told a Lawrence County woman last week that she is simply out of luck and can’t sue local officials, including a Common Pleas judge who made up a criminal charge. A judge has near-absolute civil immunity, even if the action “was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his authority,” the court ruled. And so there’s no liability for a judge who seems to have created his own procedure to use electronic monitoring in civil cases, here to essentially play collection agency for an attorney.

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Receivership limitation bill passes committee after major opposition

By   /  April 9, 2015  /  Colorado, Government Regulation, judicial accountability, News, Power Abuse  /  No Comments

Photo By Arthur Kane

A bill regulating receiverships in Colorado eked through the Senate judiciary committee on a party line vote — setting up a tough path for the measure in Democrat-controlled House.

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