It's Your Dime: House Democrats Meeting - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

It's Your Dime: House Democrats Meeting

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Democrats in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives say they need to get away from the Capitol and gather at a hotel to talk openly and set strategy for 2010.

But it all comes at a price for taxpayers.

Fox 29 Investigates' Jeff Cole has been digging into this and reported the big meeting happens Wednesday morning.

Democratic members of the House will gather in a Camp Hill hotel, and some of the cost is on your dime.

All this while advocates for reform at the Capitol are asking is this really necessary?

Fox 29 has obtained this memo that says Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. House Democrats will hold their 2010 strategy meeting at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in Camp Hill.

A spokesperson said they'll talk about how House Democrats can live within the $55.2 million in tax dollars given to them to operate.

They'll also discuss the line between policy and politics.

Taxpayers will pick up the $953 cost of breakfast and other expenses, but that's not all.

All 104 House Democrats will be eligible for their $163-per-day per diem for lodging and meals.

If all of them attend, that's $16,952 from taxpayers.

Fox 29 asked why not have the meeting in the Capitol complex?

A spokesperson said the hotel allows House members to get away from the capital and speak freely in an honest and open discussion.

We also had this question: is there a mingling of taxpayer-supported policy discussion and politics here?

The House Democratic Campaign Committee, a private, political arm of the House Democrats, is paying for lunch and will offer campaign advice.

The HDCC gets its money from political donors.

Now, the House spokesperson said the taxpayer-supported policy talks end when the $2,000 lunch and presentation -- paid for by that HDCC group -- begins.

But Eric Epstein of the reform group Rock the Capital calls the meeting embarrassing. He said the perception is awful and the even should have been held in a Capitol caucus room for free.

As for the lunch, he calls it a questionable co-mingling of funds.

This story came to us from a tip. If you have a question about questionable spending, call our tip line, 1-888-267-8214, or visit our Fox 29 Investigates page.

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