HARRISBURG - For state workers, dropping a dime on your boss for using public resources in a political campaign will actually cost 41 cents - the price of a postage stamp.
But it's a small price to pay to clean up Harrisburg, said Gene Stilp, a longtime activist who yesterday announced he has created a "Crime Watch" inside the state Capitol.
Stilp wants government staffers to write him if they spot instances where House or Senate members are using state resources - whether it be a copy machine or cell phone or the time of a staffer - for campaign purposes.
"It's an effort to keep this neighborhood clean," Stilp said during a morning news conference inside the Capitol. "This neighborhood has been dirtied up, and people are embarrassed about what goes on in Harrisburg."
State law bars officials from using public resources for campaign-related activity, although critics have long complained that it is a practice tolerated in Harrisburg.
Stilp's move comes amid an investigation by Attorney General Tom Corbett into whether millions in government bonuses were awarded last year to legislative aides for work on political campaigns.
If the effort produces noteworthy information, Stilp said, he would refer it to the Attorney General's Office.
Kevin Harley, Corbett's spokesman, called the program a publicity stunt and said he doesn't see the need for it.
"People are already free to contact the Attorney General's Office about any alleged crime, and we can protect their identity," he said.
Stilp, who heads Taxpayers and Ratepayers United, a public interest group, said he is making the appeal now because lawmakers are gearing up for next year's reelection cycle.
Stilp, of suburban Harrisburg, is a former House aide who has filed numerous legal challenges to legislation, most notably one contesting the 2005 legislative pay raise. He is being joined in the crime-watch effort by another group, the Pennsylvania Accountability Project.
Stilp spent part of yesterday tacking "crime watch" posters on Capitol bulletin boards and handing a list of 50 "election-related activities to watch for" to aides throughout Harrisburg.
He is asking anyone with information to write him anonymously at: Capitol Crime Watch, P.O. Box 3333, Harrisburg, Pa. 17105. He's using the U.S. mail instead of e-mail or telephone to quell fears some might have that their tips might be traced.