Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Found-money fortune stirs up state treasurer race

Plus: Trump, TikTok, and PA's richest man.

Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and for a limited time, all gifts will be DOUBLED!☀️ Today, we're kicking off our Sunshine Week member drive with a BIG challenge. If we raise $25,000 in support of Spotlight PA's vital journalism that keeps Harrisburg honest and holds power to account, we'll unlock a $25,000 bonus. That means every single gift will be DOUBLED!

Our journalism gets results, but we need your support to keep it going. Make a generous contribution now to ensure Spotlight PA's independent, nonpartisan reporting for Pennsylvania can continue. Give now »

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA staff

Monday, March 11, 2024
Today: Treasury test, Trump's TikTok flip-flop, Senate field, anti-fluoride, and Rite Aid's reversal. Also: The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun.

This year’s race for state treasurer is spotlighting an unusual policy issue.

Pennsylvania holds more than $4.5 billion in unclaimed property — money from inactive bank accounts, uncashed checks, and unused gift cards that, by law, must be turned over to the state. But the original owners never lose their right to file a claim with the state Treasury to get it back.

Since taking office in 2021, GOP incumbent Stacy Garrity has overseen a major upgrade — initiated by her Democratic predecessor — that has resulted in faster claims processing via automation. Garrity says the state Treasury returned almost $274 million in the 2023 fiscal year, a record.

But Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie, who’s running to oust Garrity, thinks the figure is “deliberately misleading” because it doesn’t reflect the new unclaimed property received by the state each year. Bizzarro says that context makes the amount returned under Garrity less impressive.

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: State treasury candidates spar over the best way to return a fortune in unclaimed property.

Read more: Treasurer Garrity’s decision to invest more Pa. money in Israel Bonds draws protest, Democratic opposition.


“There won’t be a third one.” 

—Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox in a prior and ultimately fruitless warning to state Rep. Amen Brown (D., Philly), who just survived another ballot challenge — though not without a ding from his own lawyer

A great horned owl sitting on a nest in Lancaster County, via Elliott C. Have a Pennsylvania photo you want to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

a brown owl with orange hues sitting in its nest in a tree
Support Spotlight PA's vital investigative journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED!
We've been challenged to raise $25,000 in support of Spotlight PA's journalism by March 23, and if we do it, every single gift will be DOUBLED by The Benter Foundation in Pittsburgh. Spotlight PA's journalism holds power to account and gets results. And now we need you to make sure it can continue.

Make a tax-deductible gift now & get it DOUBLED »

You can also give via PayPal or Venmo, or send a check to: Spotlight PA, PO Box 11728, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728.

Thank you to the more than 50 people who have given so far, including Diane C., who said, "I like having the facts and Spotlight PA digs for the facts." Join Diane and make a gift now »
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
TIKTOK FLIP-FLOP: Former President Trump has changed his tune on TikTok after meeting with Pennsylvania's richest man, who's also one of the app's biggest investors, Axios reports. Days before the reversal, Trump met with Main Line billionaire and political power player Jeff Yass, who's spending millions solidifying TikTok political support.
  • U.S. House to vote this week on TikTok crackdown, via Reuters.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.MAGA DROPOUT: Brandi Tomasetti is out of the GOP race for U.S. Senate, blaming Dave McCormick's campaign and "outdated voter data" amid a challenge of her nominating petitions, per LNP (paywall). McCormick has one GOP opponent left, perennial candidate Joe Vodvarka, who's facing a petition challenge of his own.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.FARM FUNDS: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to funnel $10.3 million into a grant program that would make Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry more innovative, Spotlight PA reports. Industry stakeholders welcome the opportunity, while some lawmakers want to know what would qualify for the funds before offering support.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
FLUORIDE FEARS: State College stopped adding fluoride to its water last year, the latest in a wave of anti-fluoridation policy decisions experts link to misinformation and junk science. Stateline has a look at the big picture as more municipalities and states turn away from a public health measure that has lowered rates of tooth decay
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.POWER POINT: Climate activists want PECO — Pennsylvania's largest electric and natural gas company — to use more renewable energy in its power supply, per WHYY. The company says it's making changes, but its power purchasing plan — the same submitted to the state every four years — still has solar at the minimum level required.
🗞️ ARE YOU NEWSY? Prove it with the latest PA News Quiz: Gov’t land grabs, Trump ruling, derailed trains, and election games.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN: It's Sunshine Week, and Spotlight PA is highlighting the importance of transparency and holding government institutions accountable. Check out the work made possible by your support.

HEARTBREAK HOTEL: Mercer County's Shenango Inn housed the likes of John F. Kennedy in its heyday. It's since fallen into disrepair, and The Sharon Herald reports an effort to save the historic building is falling apart too. The owner said his Israeli funding source is no longer in existence.

PAY FIX: Philly-based Rite Aid says it will return severance payments it withdrew from laid-off employees after related reports prompted talk of a state investigation, per WHTM. Rite Aid filed for bankruptcy last year.

WINE WAVE: It's been 341 years since William Penn planted his first vineyard in Pennsylvania. Centre County Gazette says the commonwealth now has 400 wineries producing more than 2 million gallons of wine a year.

SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY: Want to know how you can hold Pennsylvania school officials accountable? Join Spotlight PA’s Wyatt Massey and a panel of education journalists March 14 on Zoom for a talk on the subject.

Spotlight PA's exclusive 'All Sun, No Shade' beach towel

'All Sun, No Shade' Beach Towel

It's Sunshine Week, and our limited-edition towel is selling fast!

Promote government transparency & tan lines, all in support of Spotlight PA's vital journalism. SHOP THE SALE NOW >
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Luminary

Congrats to our weekly winner: Helena D.

Congrats to our daily winners: Beth T., Jody A., Tracy S., John C., John P., Brian L., Bob C., Barbara F., Jon W., Susan R., Dave B., Stacy S., Susan N., Lynne E., Craig E., Mike B., Daniel M., Jon G., Alan B., Don H., Mack M., Elaine C., Rick W., Beth H., Judith H., Jane R., Malachy M., David T., Janet S., Nancy S., Daniel S., William Z., Richard A., Keith F., Al G., Vicki U., Alexander G., Wendy A., Ada M., Tom M., Dan A., and Stanley J.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.