Then-state Rep. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson. Dush now chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which is probing the 2020 election (Capital-Star file)
Retiring state Rep. Cris Dush may have just found his second act.
On Tuesday, the Jefferson County lawmaker became the third Republican, and eighth candidate overall, to jump into the 2020 race for Pennsylvania auditor general. Current Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat, is serving his second, and final, term as the state’s elected fiscal watchdog.
“After announcing my commitment to honor my pledge to only serve three terms in the House I’ve been approached by many encouraging me to not leave public service,” Dush said in a statement released late Tuesday night.
Dush has represented the 66th House district since 2015. It includes all of Jefferson County and 10 townships and six boroughs in Indiana County. He announced his retirement in November, but added that he’s been encouraged to stay in public service.
Dush said a “trusted colleague” suggested that his background would make him a good fit for the row office position.
In 2015, Dush joined forces with fellow GOP Rep. Seth Grove, of York County, to investigate the Wolf administration during a lengthy budget impasse that year. Dush claimed that their report “broke the budget stalemate.”
During the investigation, Dush and Grove uncovered the now-infamous “Ledger 5,” a mysterious ledger used to move money between government accounts, which few in the Legislature had knowledge of.
Before joining the Legislature, Dush was the Chief of Information Protection with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, where he audited classified information protection programs at various guard units across the state, including State College, Middletown and Fort Indiantown Gap.
In that role, Dush said he recommended or directed changes to programs based on best practices, investigated reports of security breaches and organized training for military units and defense contractors.
“What I love about programs like this is that one can identify potential problems and the sources of those problems, help people prevent them in the future and help find solutions,” Dush said. “But there is a third element that truly brings me into full focus; that’s when we discover the bad actors who are taking money from the people to use for something other than what the legislature intended. That money is often intended for our most vulnerable citizens. It’s those situations where we will bring the weight of the government and the public to bear.”
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