This week the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled against State Senator Andy Dinniman, finding that the Senator does not have personal or legislative standing to file a complaint against Sunoco LP, the Mariner East 2 pipeline operator.
Originally filed in the spring of 2018, Senator Dinniman’s complaint halted constructed of the pipeline. Though difficult to calculate, the hiatus imposed by the complaint certainly cost a number of union members time on the job while hindering Sunoco’s ability to deliver product to market at the capacities they anticipated. Senator Dinniman would like the public to think the missed earnings are something of a victimless crime.
What can concretely be calculated and examined is Senator Dinniman’s happy habit of frivolously spending taxpayer money while protecting his own cash flow.
In fact, the 2018 complaint was not paid for out of Senator Dinniman’s pocket. The Daily Local News reported that attorney fees for the filing were covered by the Democratic Caucus of the Senate.
So, despite seeking personal and legislative standing in the complaint, Senator Dinniman directed taxpayer money from a partisan caucus to support litigation personal to himself. What’s more is that the lawyers hired to see the complaint through had previously represented the Clean Air Council and Delaware Riverkeeper Network, two special interest groups that have worked at all costs to kill energy infrastructure in Pennsylvania.
Senator Dinniman’s liberty-taking with taxpayer money didn’t start in 2018 with the Pennsylvania PUC complaint, either.
In 2015 The Morning Call published an article on Pennsylvania state lawmakers’ district office lease expenses. Senator Andy Dinniman topped the list of all legislatures, paying $6,865 a month to Zukin real estate. On annual, Dinniman’s rent totals $82,380 of Pennsylvanians’ taxpayer dollars.
Funnily enough, Senator Dinniman’s district office rent is less than his annual legislator salary. Penn Live reported in 2018 that Pennsylvania state lawmakers – the second highest paid in the country – would receive a pay bump raising the base salary to $88,610. For context, in 2017 the average state lawmaker salary of the other 41 states that pay state lawmakers was $35,592, putting Senator Dinniman’s annual salary nearly 250% higher than his counterparts in other states.
And benefits? John Baer of The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Senator Dinniman voted to end traditional pensions for other state employees while protecting his own.
It is obvious that Senator Dinniman is best at keeping energy benefits – including jobs, tax revenues, and affordable energy – from taxpayers while spending their money for his own convenience.