The $158 per-diem payment is supposed to cover food and other expenses of traveling to their jobs. You know, just like your boss treats you to lunch every day or just pays you a bonus for showing up.
Brad Bumstead examines the per-diem scam as part of the overall Bonusgate corruption investigation in his latest column for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
From his column:
Since I've been covering the Capitol -- starting in 1983 -- lawmakers of both parties have been ripping off taxpayers by claiming the full per diem while also charging the state for pricey dinners. Sometimes, the caucus or chief clerk's office would provide dinner at the Capitol while legislators were in session.Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.
The Maverick Steak House was the favorite watering hole for years until it burned down. Vissagio's, an Italian eatery, was also a regular spot. Tavern on the Hill has been a more recent favorite. There's no doubt whatsoever that many collected per diems while also charging the state for fancy dinners.
Sometimes, leaders would put the arm on a lobbyist and take a half-dozen members along for a free meal, all the while collecting the full per diem.