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Sam Janesch/The Caucus


Sam Janesch is a political reporter for LNP. He can be reached at SJanesch@lnpnews.com, or (717) 481-6024. You can also follow @SamJanLNP on Twitter.

Latest by Sam Janesch/The Caucus


Pa. legislature’s redacted legal bills leave taxpayers guessing

In eight cases that began in 2021, or continued to be billed that year, the House and Senate wholly blacked out the reasons for hiring the private law firm, records obtained through a Right-to-Know request show

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA and Sam Janesch/The Caucus

See the reasons why Pennsylvania’s legislature paid millions to outside law firms in 2019 and 2020

Reporters sorted through thousands of heavily redacted documents to reveal how the legislature spends your tax dollars on private lawyers.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA and Sam Janesch/The Caucus

Pa. lawmakers hand out millions in public contracts to law firms that fill their campaign coffers

The mutually beneficial system, which is entirely legal, enriches the campaigns of Pa. lawmakers, who in turn hire firms for all types of legal matters — and all paid for by taxpayers.

By Sam Janesch/The Caucus and Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA

For the first time, Pa. Senate gives public online access to spending records

Though a win for taxpayers, the information provided online is not searchable or easy to analyze.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA, Michael Wereschagin/The Caucus, Brad Bumsted/The Caucus and Sam Janesch/The Caucus

Pennsylvania Senate plans first step to enhance public access to expense information

Following reporting by The Caucus and Spotlight PA, the Pennsylvania Senate said it will post expenses online, though it’s unclear in what format.

By Brad Bumsted/The Caucus and Sam Janesch/The Caucus

Updated: August 6, 2021 | 12:21 pm

Theft charges brought down a state lawmaker. But Pa.’s reimbursement system was ripe for abuse.

Per diems allow legislators to collect flat-rate payments intended for food and lodging without turning over any receipts. They were front and center in the charges against Margo Davidson.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA, Sam Janesch/The Caucus, Michael Wereschagin/The Caucus and Brad Bumsted/The Caucus

How one Pennsylvania lawmaker billed taxpayers $1.8 million in expenses

Mileage, meals, lodging, travel, and a special perk called per diems are part of the hidden costs charged to taxpayers to support Pennsylvania’s legislature.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA, Brad Bumsted/The Caucus, Sam Janesch/The Caucus and Michael Wereschagin/The Caucus

Bill would force Pa. to post online how lawmakers spend millions in tax dollars each year

The bipartisan measure comes in response to an ongoing investigation by Spotlight PA and The Caucus into how taxpayers shell out millions each year for perks but are largely unaware of that spending.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA, Brad Bumsted/The Caucus, Sam Janesch/The Caucus and Michael Wereschagin/The Caucus

Some Pa. lawmakers tout expense transparency. Their websites tell a different story.

Just 29 of the 253 full-time lawmakers in Pennsylvania post some information online about how they spend taxpayer dollars in their duties, despite many proclaiming, “It’s Your Money.”

By Sam Janesch/The Caucus

Taxpayers foot huge bill to run Pa.’s full-time legislature, but are blocked from many details

A web of expense accounts, few reporting requirements, and questionable claims of “legislative privilege” help keep lawmaker spending obscured — and the public in the dark.

By Angela Couloumbis/Spotlight PA, Michael Wereschagin/The Caucus, Brad Bumsted/The Caucus and Sam Janesch/The Caucus
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