MARCH 11, 2008
Dozens of elected officials who received more than $1 million from a recently indicted mob-linked casino owner refuse to part with the money even though they got most of it right before voting on gambling issues that benefited the generous donor.
The bipartisan group of federal, state and local politicians from Pennsylvania (including Democratic Governor Ed Rendell) refuses to follow the footsteps of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who combined have given hundreds of thousands of tainted dollars from corrupt donors to charity.
The Pennsylvania lawmakers say that the wealthy casino owner, Louis DeNaples, made the donations a few years before a grand jury indicted him for lying about his mob ties and therefore the money is clean. The fact remains, however, that most of the money–$900,000—was given from 2001 through 2005, when gambling was a key issue before the legislature and in the governor’s race.
The state legalized gambling in 2004 and DeNaples received a license to operate his highly profitable casino in the Poconos in 2006. He was indicted by a grand jury for lying to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board about his involvement with two mob figures and two other men who participated in a Philadelphia corruption ring.
Though Republican and Democrats at all levels of government received money from DeNaples, the individual who got the biggest single chunk of cash was Governor Rendell, who pocketed $115,000.
The second-largest donations, $106,000 a piece, went to Senate Democrats and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Even Pennsylvania’s Republican attorney general, Tom Corbett, got $25,000 which he has no intention of returning. Not one of the elected officials seems to think the money from the indicted, mob-linked donor was in any way tainted.
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