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Politics & Government

PA's Political Retreat Begins This Week in NYC

If there's anything you need to call your state lawmaker about, try to do it before Thursday.

That's the day marking the start of this year's annual Pennsylvania Society weekend, a four-day-long retreat centered in Manhattan that attracts the commonwealth's political elite.

Reception hosts and the people on their invite lists defend the weekend as a way to see most of the state's movers and shakers in one convenient location.

But government reform activists call it a "pay-to-play playground." Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital says he and other groups started their own alternative PA Society tradition several years ago.

"What we normally do is provide the Capitol police with pizza," he said. "We want to recognize and appreciate the folks who keep us safe."

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, former GOP majority leader of the state Senate, has canceled his scheduled reception, but other outgoing politicos still plan to throw parties. Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley is hosting a reception. Gov. Corbett is closely guarding the details of a more "informal" get-together.

Governor-elect Tom Wolf isn't hosting a reception, but does plan to attend a few events that are expected to be disclosed this week. His transition team said in lieu of hosting an event, he expects to donate to three or four regional food banks, as he did last year.