- Associated Press - Sunday, October 11, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Some of the criminal matters for which Pennsylvania taxpayers have doled out more than $2.8 million for legal representation of state lawmakers and their aides, since the start of 2011:

- Bonusgate: The bulk of House Democrats’ legal fees for criminal matters were related to the investigation into misuse of public resources for campaign purposes, a scandal that snared several top Democratic members and staff. The guilty verdict against former Speaker Bill DeWeese, for example, was issued in early 2012 after testimony by his aides that campaign work was a regular part of their legislative work day.

- Computergate: All of the House Republicans’ legal fees for criminal matters related to Bonusgate’s parallel investigation, Computergate, which resulted in guilty pleas or verdicts against former members and staff. Former Speaker John Perzel pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced in 2012, after prosecutors argued he led a scheme to spend millions in public money on computers and expertise in election campaigns.

- Sen. Jane Orie, Justice Joan Orie Melvin, Janine Orie: The three sisters, Republicans from the Pittsburgh area, were convicted of crimes related to the misuse of government resources for campaign purposes.

- Sen. Bob Mellow, the former Democratic floor leader and president pro tempore, from the Scranton area, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in 2012 was sentenced to 16 months, based on charges he used public employees to campaign and filed a false tax return.

- Sen. LeAnna Washington, a Philadelphia Democrat, pleaded guilty last year to conflict of interest for using her legislative staff to raise campaign funds.

- Rep. Curtis Thomas, D-Philadelphia, was investigated over his ties to a chiropractor in the city who pleaded guilty to mail fraud last year. Thomas was never charged.

- Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, who was investigated after he obtained Phillies tickets from Tyron Ali, a lobbyist who served as an undercover informant, seeking information about legislative corruption, in what’s been called the “Bling Sting.” Galloway was not charged with any crime and, through a caucus spokesman, said he purchased the tickets.

- Rep. J.P. Miranda, D-Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conflict of interest and lying to a grand jury after engaging in a scheme to have his sister work secretly in his district office, to avoid anti-nepotism rules.


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