Former Post-Gazette scribe and Early Returns contributor Dennis Roddy is still doing reportorial digging in his new speechwriting job for Gov. Tom Corbett.
The Patriot-News has a story today on the environmental group Penn Future being forced to return $138,000 in taxpayer funding after it was discovered they used the funds for purposes other than those inked in a 2009 state contract. Roddy, of course, made that discovery (along with the governor's top energy aide Patrick Henderson, former chief of staff to Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango County.)
According to an internal memo Roddy sent to DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker, he and Henderson had questions about PennFuture’s contract.
They both were “curious as to why an outside advocacy group would receive substantial taxpayer funding to promote awareness of (Act 129 of 2008, an energy conservation mandate) after having actively lobbied on behalf of the same legislation.”
The grant was to make school districts and municipalities aware of energy conservation and efficiency requirements under the act and funding opportunities available to help them comply.
Then, Jarrett asked for help getting more public money, this time from the federal government.
At the Aug. 22 meeting, Roddy “wanted to know the name of the outside consultant who received the lion’s share of the grant,” he wrote in the memo. He also wanted to know why there was no record of PennFuture getting DCED approval.
. . . Jarrett explained to The Patriot-News: “We have lots going on. It slipped through the cracks.”
Roddy, in his memo, concluded, “While I believe that PennFuture has done the proper thing in returning the DCED money with interest, I remain troubled by how cavalierly they treated this contract and I doubt they’d have taken this corrective action had we not looked into it and confronted them.”
“One expects a nonprofit, public interest group that professes to be working for the civic good to be mindful of basic standards of responsibility when it comes to the public purse,” Roddy said.