|Maher serves as Speaker pro tempore during the 2011-12 legislative session
Rep. John A. Maher has been a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since September 1997, representing the 40th District.
“My 60,000+ bosses live in Bethel Park, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair,” Rep. Maher frequently observes.
A Certified Public Accountant in Pennsylvania since 1983, Rep. Maher launched one of the largest CPA auditing firms founded in Pennsylvania during the past half-century. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, with an A.B. degree in Management Sciences/Accounting. He also completed scholarship studies at Oxford University and the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Rep. Maher has devoted himself to forcing systemic changes to Pennsylvania that will have enduring benefit long after his public service ends. Among his notable accomplishments:
• Authored the Open Records Law. This landmark legislation was the first advance in
generations for your rights to government records. The preceding law dated to the 1950s
and was notorious for high hurdles obstructing public access and was consistent with an
era when not even photocopying was common. Technology marched on and most states
did too, but Pennsylvania remained defiantly resistant to efforts to expand your “right to
know” about state and local government records. Maher believes “sunshine is the best
disinfectant” and that easy public access to most government records promotes healthy
civic involvement and helps inspire better performance by those in government. The
Pennsylvania Newspaper Association awarded Maher its rarely presented “Award for Open
Government” for this landmark legislation.
• Authored the Lobbying Law ending Pennsylvania’s unfortunate distinction as the only state
in the nation which had absolutely no law governing lobbying. This law not only lets the
public know who is paying whom for lobbying (Registration Quick Search) but also prohibits
lobbyists from a range of activities that are obviously at odds with the public interest.
• Authored the Audit Integrity Act criminalizing material deceptions committed in connection
with a CPA’s attestation report intended for public use. Maher has made protecting the
public from financial crime a priority in many other legislative efforts as well.
• Authored Local Tax Conformance Act replacing thousands of confusing and unequal local
tax practices with a single definition of earned income that now applies equally to all
Pennsylvanians, regardless of where they reside. This act was essential to creating the
opportunity to actually streamline government for Pennsylvania’s 3,000+ local taxing
• Authored Prudent Investor Requirements requiring that the state Treasury make safety the
top priority for investing funds -- just in time to protect PA from the market meltdown of
Many of his other legislative initiatives have become law as freestanding legislation or as amendments to other bills.
Rep. Maher is known for his commitment to fighting animal cruelty. In 2011, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, together with the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, presented him with its highest honor -- the Distinguished Service Award.
Web surveys over the years have dubbed Maher the "Most Intelligent" and among the "Hardest Working" legislators.
Maher began his accounting career with a global CPA firm, serving clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. After advancing through the ranks of the Pittsburgh office, he served in the firm's national office. There he addressed complex accounting and auditing issues referred from offices around the nation, negotiated with international partners of the firm to establish a uniform audit approach, and interacted with the profession's standard setting bodies generally accepted accounting principles and generally accepted auditing standards.
In 1989, Maher started a CPA firm dedicated to serving the public sector. His firm quickly grew to among the 25 largest CPA firms in the Pittsburgh region. Maher continued to lead the growth of the firm until he joined the Legislature, by which time his company was among largest CPA auditing firms founded in Pennsylvania during the past half-century. Maher is particularly proud that the firm has repeatedly been recognized among the "Best Places to Work," an honor dependent on the views expressed by those who work with the firm.
Maher became one of the nation's first Certified Government Financial Managers (CGFM) in 1994 and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) in 2012. He served on the National Advisory Board of the Center for Government Accounting Research and Education during the 1990s and the national governing body of the American Institute of CPAs in 2009 and 2010.
Publishing and Instructing
Maher has a long list of credits in publishing and instructing.
He has lectured at Cambridge University's International Symposium of Economic Crime on a recurring basis since the 1990s. At Cambridge (U.K.), his lectures have included, "Government Auditing," "Forensic Auditing," “Accounting for Integrity," and various other topics oriented toward preventing and detecting frauds. His audience has included attorneys general and ambassadors of many countries, business and law enforcement leaders from more than 60 nations, and even the heads of Interpol and Europol.
Maher has taught “Government Financial Information for Reporters" for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Reporter's Boot Camp, and, “The Lessons of Enron," for the North American Association of Securities Administrators' annual conference of regulators.
Maher’s publications include: “Overview of Government Accounting," Applying Government Accounting Principles (standard text published by Matthew Bender & Co.), July 1995; “Fair Cities," The Economist, January 23, 1993; “Reporting on Solvency," Mergers & Acquisitions Journal, September/October 1988; and “The Housecall Makes a Comeback," The Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Winter 1986.
He has been a guest instructor at Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz School; a member of the Community College of Allegheny County adjunct faculty; and has taught dozens of seminars to local, state and national audiences.
Rep. Maher has served on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Pittsburgh Council for more than a decade. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pittsburgh and the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.
Maher was a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Homes for the Aged Alignment Task Force (2001-2003); a board member and treasurer for the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania (1990-1996); member of the Health Agency Coalition (embracing Alzheimer's Association, Lupus Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation and others) board of directors (1992-1996); and the Irish American Partnership, National Board of Governors (1994-1997). He twice received "Volunteer of the Year" awards as a member of the Western Pennsylvania Community Accountants (1990-1997) for volunteering professional services to non-profit organizations.
As a member of the General Assembly, Maher has earned a long list of awards and recognitions from civic and political groups, including the “Seven Seals Award" for Meritorious Leadership and Initiative in Support of the Men and Women who Serve America in the National Guard and Reserve, 2003, issued by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for the United States. He was named “Republican of the Year" in 1999 by the Upper St. Clair Republican Committee, and in 1998, by the Bethel Park Republican Leadership Council.
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