Credit card expenses bring new scrutiny to lieutenant governor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Stack enjoys a taxpayer-funded credit card to go with his $162,000 salary and state-funded house.

“It’s called a P-card or procurement card,” explained Brad Bumsted. “Other people in state government have them.”

Bumsted, of The Caucus newspaper, filed a right-to-know request for the numbers. They show Stack spent more than $73,000 over a two-year period.

“$30,000 for groceries and most of that was at a Giant in Hummelstown,” Bumsted said, “and there was an additional $4,000 of delivery of those groceries.”

Stack’s chief of staff, Matt Franchak, in a statement said the lieutenant governor’s office has a budget for food that is modeled on food budgets from previous lieutenant governors and their families. He said Lt. Gov. Stack and his staff have kept their expenses within that budget, which is used to purchase food items for family and for meeting and special events.

“All expenses are audited and reviewed by agencies independent of the lieutenant governor’s office,” he said.

Political activist Gene Stilp says the expenses may be in line with previous occupants of the office, but it’s still too much.

“The money that is spent, from a taxpayer perspective, is a waste of taxpayer money,” Stilp said.

Stilp ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the 2006 Democratic primary against Catherine Baker Knoll. His platform: eliminate the position of lieutenant governor.

“Just get rid of it once and for all,” Stilp said.

Gov. Tom Wolf got rid of Stack’s staff and his state police security detail amid allegations that Stack and his wife Tonya were abusive to employees, but a state police spokesman said Friday that it has not reduced its executive detail even though it’s guarding two fewer people.

“These are good, dedicated state police officers,” Stilp said. “Let’s get them on the front lines fighting crime, not doing the lieutenant governor’s bidding.”

Typically, the state’s second in command are hungry for media attention and never get it. Ironically, Stack’s getting a lot of it with no end in sight.

“The lieutenant governor is never in the spotlight and now all of a sudden Mike Stack is in the spotlight, and there’s all these things we don’t know about him,” Bumsted said. “We don’t know how he spends money, how he lives, or what he does at the mansion. So it’s all new territory for us and we’re trying to find out.”

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