– The House Government Oversight Committee, co-chaired by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) and Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery), today unanimously adopted a report on its investigation into the purchase of firearms by the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG).
The probe was initiated in March 2020 under the former committee chairman, Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), after OSIG purchased 145 handguns in 2018 and subsequently decided not to put them into service. The entire procurement, which included ammunition and other peripheral items, totaled nearly $160,000.
The committee’s investigation found that proper procurement procedures were followed by OSIG, but the decision not to use the Sig Saur Model P320 pistols was a policy determination made by the governor’s office.
“The law establishes criteria indicating the level of approval which must be achieved before making any purchase. In this instance, those were adequate. However, there are situations where a procurement implicates unique policy factors that would counsel against simply following the statutory requirements. Though obviously a somewhat rare set of circumstances, the decision to issue firearms to Commonwealth employees in an agency within the executive offices of the governor would qualify as a ‘unique policy factor.’ Though here, it appears that members of the Governor’s Office of General Counsel were present when firearms procurement was discussed, that should have been made clear at the highest level,” the committee concluded in its report.
Twenty-five of the handguns have since been transferred to other state agencies (Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Capitol Police). The committee is hopeful the rest of the pistols will be repurposed as well so there is no net loss to taxpayers.
“Government transparency is necessary to ensure government trust. By releasing this report today, the committee is showing we can bring greater transparency to decisions made in state government that affect taxpayer resources in a bipartisan fashion,” Toohil said. “Doing so proves to those who entrust us with the responsibility of stewardship of their resources that we are committed to transparency, accountability and good government management.”
“This report represents true, bipartisan, fact-based legislative oversight – demonstrating that we can work together to ensure the public is well served by legislative agencies,” said Bradford. “I appreciate the chairwoman’s commitment to the work of this committee and to Inspector General Lucas Miller and his staff for being so forthcoming in this process.”
The committee’s report is attached here
. A video recording of the meeting can be viewed here
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office