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Auditor General Candidate Profile: John Maher

Two candidates are seeking the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania Auditor General in Tuesday's primary election.

State Representative John Maher (R-Allegheny) claims he's the more qualified candidate, in part because he authored the state's Right-to-Know law, which expanded the public's ability to access government documents.

Maher feels that being a CPA is imperative for the office.

"I am the only candidate who has served as a public accountant. I am the only candidate who has audited at all, and I've audited hundreds of government [agencies]. I'm the only candidate who has written a book about government accounting, I'm the only candidate who has built a business that has created permanent jobs, including right there in central Pennsylvania. I think that these skills matter," said Maher.

Maher's primary opponent is Frank Pinto, former president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers. Pinto says you don't need to be a CPA to be an effective auditor general; you need leadership skills to direct an office that has 67 CPA's and 400 auditors.

But Maher also feels his leadership abilities fit the responsibilities of the position.

"I built a business from the ground up that has been recognized as one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania over and over again, that is regarded as one of the finest auditing firms and, in fact, is the largest auditing firm that has been founded in Pennsylvania in something like 50 years," Maher said. "I call that leadership."

The Upper St. Clair resident has been a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since September 1997, representing the 40th District.

The winner of the Pinto/Maher race will face State Representative Eugene DePasquale (D-York County) in the November election. DePasquale is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for auditor general.

By law, incumbent Auditor General Jack Wagner cannot run for a third consecutive 4-year term.

Essential Public Radio's Mary Wilson interviewed John Maher for this story.