Editorial: Maher Our Choice For Auditor General

Washington Observer-Reporter

One of our local legislators, Republican John Maher, who has represented the 40th House District since 1997, is seeking election to two offices in this primary. As in the past 14 years, he faces no opposition for his House seat. And has filed for statewide office for the first time and is competing against Philadelphia native Frank Pinto for the GOP nomination for auditor general.

The winner will face York County Democratic legislator Eugene DePasquale, who is not opposed, in the fall.

We have consistently advised voters of the 40th District to retain Maher as their representative, but at this time we believe those voters and all of Pennsylvania would best be served if Maher becomes auditor general, a position for which he is uniquely qualified.

Pinto, 67, of Dauphin County, calls himself an “independent, conservative Republican” who says that as a college professor he has taught politics, has lived and worked in politics but has never been a politician. He has been president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers for the last 25 years, has operated three small businesses and has rehabilitated 15 properties in Harrisburg.

Pinto says auditors and financial experts in the auditor general’s office need a strong leader to create a “watchdog brigade.” In an interview with the Observer-Reporter’s editorial board, he decried the lack of efficiency and inaction at all levels of government.

Pinto dismisses his opponent’s background as a certified public account, stating that Pennsylvania is in need of a strong leader in the office, not a “bean counter.” He claims that Maher, who voted for the infamous 2005 midnight pay raise for legislators, is the handpicked candidate of the state GOP and will perform as its puppet.

We find this last charge difficult to swallow. Maher, 53, and a resident of Upper St. Clair, has distinguished himself in Harrisburg for his independence. He has distanced himself from partisan bickering and gift-bearing lobbyists and has championed transparency in government and the Open Records Law.

Maher has been a CPA and auditor since 1983, and noted that, “Pennsylvania has never had someone as auditor general who could audit.”

He notes that his opponent has always been a political insider and remains a registered lobbyist.

Asked why he is seeking higher office, Maher said, “I came to Harrisburg as an independent spirit, not a partisan, and to be a disruptive influence from the get-go … I plan to be a disruptive influence somewhere else – in the AG’s office.”

We highly recommend that Republican voters choose John Maher as their candidate on April 24.

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