SEPTEMBER 05, 2007
Taxpayer funds have been illegally used by Democratic Pennsylvania legislators to compensate state employees for work on their political campaigns.
Incumbent Democrats in Pennsylvaniaâ??s House of Representative spent nearly $2 million on hefty salary bonuses for staff members who spent most of their taxpayer-funded time working on campaigns instead of their state jobs.
The legislative staffers spent months distributing campaign literature, organizing events and compiling information to use against Republican opponents. The investment evidently paid off because Democrats gained control of the state House for the first time in 12 years.
But using public funds to pay campaign workers is illegal and the state attorney general has launched an investigation. Many of the public employees were away from their jobs for months at a time yet received bonuses of at least $7,500. Many others got $5,000 bonuses and the common thread is that those rewarded all worked on their incumbent bossesâ?? reelection campaign.
One of the heftiest compensations went to the legislative assistant of House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, who proudly boasts that he is the only rural Democrat since World War II to serve as Speaker of Americaâ??s oldest elected body.
The loyal assistantâ??s state salary is $31,070 yet he got a $12,565 bonus even though he spent most of the year campaigning instead of doing his state job.
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