Auditor General Hopefuls Make Case

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- The Republican Party's endorsed candidate for auditor general emphasizes his 29 years as a Certified Public Accountant and his opponent, a former college professor, stresses his independence from the party and the governor.

Rep. John Maher, 53, of Upper St. Clair, who founded a Pittsburgh auditing firm, said he would be the first CPA to hold the office often called the state's fiscal watchdog. Government and legal credentials marked the resumes of previous auditors general.

"So far as I can tell, there's never been a CPA as auditor general," Maher said. "Pennsylvanians deserve an auditor general who knows how to audit."

Frank Pinto, 68, of Middle Paxton in Dauphin County, is former president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers. He thinks the office has plenty of CPAs. Pinto said he's not beholden to anyone, and he noted that Gov. Tom Corbett pushed for a slate at the Republican State Committee in January that included Maher.

"I am going to watch after your money as if it's my money," Pinto said.

He criticizes Maher and Rep. Eugene DePasquale -- a York Democrat running unopposed for auditor general -- for seeking re-election to their House seats while running for auditor general. Pinto said he thinks the state should require officials to resign their seats when seeking others.

Maher said he spoke with many constituents who supported his choice to run for both posts.

Pinto portrays himself as an outsider, but Maher said Pinto "has been working the hallways of the Capitol since I was in high school. …