Jewish Democrat Mark Pinsley Running for Auditor General in Pennsylvania

Mark Pinsley (Courtesy of Mark Pinsley)

Mark Pinsley, a Jewish man who belongs to Keneseth Israel in Allentown, is running for state auditor general in Pennsylvania.

If you’re a Pennsylvania voter, you should get to know Pinsley. He’s the Lehigh County Controller and the owner of DermaMed Solutions, a skin care and device company. He’s also a married father of two.

Pinsley’s political career began in 2017. He ran for a commissioner seat in South Whitehall Township because he didn’t like Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims. Pinsley won, got elected as county controller in 2019 and lost a race for state Senate in 2022.

The Jewish value that drives him? “Tikkun olam,” Pinsley said. (His synagogue is Reform.)

Now you know Pinsley. But what about this office he’s running for? Does anyone know what the state auditor general does? It is in the name. But what does the office audit?

Pinsley clarified the answer for the voters he hopes to win over.

“We audit all the money that comes into the state or goes out of the state,” he said. “When you start to drill down a little bit, you say, OK for example, if we give prisons money, we can go audit how that money is used.”

“Medicaid is another example,” he added. “We give money for Medicaid. We can audit to make sure that money is being used properly.”

As county controller, Pinsley audits payroll and vendor payments every two weeks.

“There are certain audits that are required,” he explained. “The volunteer firefighters’ relief association funds. The Department of Human Services. There’s a lot of normal audits.”

There are routine audits at the state level, too. But the auditor general can also call for an audit, according to Pinsley. The only requirement is that the office examines money “received or sent out by the state.”

“Let’s say you get a grant. We can audit to make sure that the grant is being spent the way we agreed it would be spent,” he said. “We can’t just audit your entire books as a company.”

Pinsley sees the office playing two roles. Routine audits reduce theft, he said. At the county level, Pinsley audits the courts. Since the officials of the court know the audit is coming, they are less likely to embezzle money.

Mark Pinsley on the campaign trail (Courtesy of Mark Pinsley)

At the same time, an auditor must play a more active role as well, according to Pinsley. He must identify potential areas of concern, examine them accordingly and figure out how much the state can save. In Lehigh, Pinsley conducted an audit of the health care provided to county employees.

“We spend about $30 million a year on health care. I saved about $9 million over three years,” he said.

Pinsley conducted the audit because he realized how hard it had gotten to pay for health care for employees of his own business. The cost had increased 15-30% in recent years.

“What I found is there’s a lot of corporate greed,” he said. “And there’s no downward pricing pressure.”

On his campaign website,, the candidate lists health care as a potential area of concern at the state level, too. The state uses Caremark, part of CVS Health, as its pharmacy benefit manager, according to Pinsley. Yet CVS “ends up being one of the most expensive pharmacists,” he said.

“Drug for drug,” he added. “We’re talking about pennies, but it adds up over time.”

It could add up to $150 million in savings, according to Pinsley.

The candidate also wants to start a regular audit of the public education system. The current auditor general, Timothy L. DeFoor, “stopped auditing public schools,” Pinsley said. Pinsley wants to bring it back because he views it as the kind of audit that can “stop bad stuff from happening.”

Pinsley’s website also lists state support for county election officers and departments, workforce development programs and funds that impact children as potential audits he’d conduct if elected.

In Lehigh, Pinsley completed an audit of children and youth funds. He learned that a doctor used by the county was misdiagnosing children with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, or the condition in which a parent “goes around and pretends a child is sick,” the candidate said. Pinsley found 15 misdiagnosed families whose children had been removed from their care.

“One of the things that inspired me to run for this job is that report,” he said. “You actually get to impact people’s lives immediately.”

Pinsley, a Democrat, is running as one. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who represents the North Philadelphia-based 181st district, is also running in the April 23 Democratic Primary for auditor general. DeFoor is entering the race as a Republican.

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