JULY 11, 2008
A dozen Pennsylvania Democrats, including prominent lawmakers and their top aides, have been criminally charged for illegally using millions of taxpayer dollars to underwrite political campaigns.
State prosecutors filed theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy charges this week after a grand jury found that legislative employees received taxpayer-funded bonuses for doing campaign work, state computers and equipment were used for campaigning and public contracts were issued for partisan purposes.
Among those charged in the ongoing public corruption investigation are a former state House Democratic Minority Whip, a sitting state representative from Beaver County and four top state congressional aides, including the chief of staff to House Majority Leader William DeWeese.
Also charged are four top members of the House Democratic Caucus, including the chief counsel to House Democratic Majority Whip Keith McCall and the executive director of the House Democratic Policy Committee as well as the head of the Legislative Research Office for the House Democratic Caucus.
Democratic Minority Whip Mike Veon faces the most counts—59—and could face a maximum of 381 years in prison if convicted of all of them. State prosecutors say Veon operated a huge taxpayer-funded political fundraising operation from an office suit in the capitol which raised big bucks, booked event locations and designed menus and mailed out fundraiser invitations and campaign brochures. He also used public employees to do personal jobs and compensated them with public funds.
Details of the investigation and the indicted players have been laid out in a lengthy document, which includes mug shots of the accused, posted on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s web site.
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