Pennsylvania bonus scandal: Scott Brubaker, former House Democratic Caucus official

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HARRISBURG -- Scott Brubaker, 42, has worked both the legislative and political sides of the Democratic Party for most of his adult life.

But his career as director of administration for the House Democratic Caucus came to an abrupt end in November, after legislative leaders learned of his alleged involvement in a scheme to give taxpayer-funded financial bonuses to people who worked on political campaigns, which is illegal.

Now he is selling real estate and calling upon old friends in the Capitol to drum up business.

He was known to most in the caucus as a serious administrator who refused to bend personnel rules, but those who know him well say he had a lighter side that liked to joke around. Mostly, though, he liked to talk politics and to spend time with his young daughter, whom he sometimes brought to the Capitol when both he and his wife, Jennifer, also a caucus employee, had to work late.

Mr. Brubaker's party loyalties run strong and deep.

While still in his 20s, the former Marine and Penn State graduate served as the only Democrat elected to the Denver Borough Council in Lancaster County and ran unsuccessfully for Lancaster County commissioner. He also was active in the Ephrata and Columbia Area Democratic Clubs in Lancaster County.

In 1997, the Lancaster County Democratic Party named Mr. Brubaker and his soon-to-be wife, Jennifer Kiralfy, as Democrats of the Year. By then, the two already were working for the House Democratic Caucus in Harrisburg and had been organizing fish fries, pig roasts and wine-and-cheese receptions to raise money candidates in local Lancaster County elections.

The next year, now married and age 32, Mr. Brubaker was elected county Democratic chairman and soon became the voice of the Democratic Party in Lancaster County, one of the most right-leaning counties in the state.

Reporters turned to him as the local barometer of Democratic reaction to national political scandals.

Referring to himself as a political junkie, Mr. Brubaker attended national conventions, recruited local candidates for office and challenged county Republicans in court over irregularities on nominating petitions.

Mrs. Brubaker continues to work for the House Democrats as director of the Office of Legislative Research.

Former caucus employees say Mr. Brubaker's party loyalties were stronger than his ethics. He began to blur the line between political and legislative work, they said. A lot of aides did the same, but Mr. Brubaker is the one who got caught, said one caucus employee who asked not to be identified.

The public got a glimpse of that blurring of the lines in a 2006 lawsuit filed by a former legislative aide in Rep. Ted Harhai's Monessen office.

In the suit, Amy Fowler-Nash claimed Mr. Brubaker fired her for disloyalty in 2005 after she told a political opponent that Mr. Harhai allegedly directed employees to lie about how signatures were gathered on an election petition for Harhai's brother John's bid for Monessen City Council. The case was settled out of court.


Tracie Mauriello can be reached at tmauriello@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.


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