Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Republicans, including John Perzel, charged in corruption probe

The other shoe has dropped.

Ten Republicans connected to the Pennsylvania Legislature, including former Speaker of the House John Perzel, have been charged in a wide-ranging corruption case, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett announced today.

A grand jury found that Perzel was the architect of an illegal scheme in which more than $10 million in taxpayer money was spent to help win political campaigns, according to The Associated Press.

Also charged in the ongoing grand jury probe were Perzel's former chief of staff, Brian Preski, and former House GOP counsel Brett Feese, the news service reports.

The charges come 16 months after 12 Democrats were charged in what became known as the Bonusgate case.

Just four years ago, Perzel was arguably the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania, with more influence than Gov. Ed Rendell. But the pay raise fiasco of 2005 and Republican loses in the House (which Perzel had a hand in) cost Perzel his post as Speaker. Now he is facing criminal charges and a lengthy jail sentence if found guilty.

Perzel, who has represented parts of Philadelphia in Legislature since 1979, was Republican Whip in 1993-94; Majority Leader from 1995 to 2003; and Speaker from April 15, 2003, to the end of 2006, when a half-dozen Republicans joined with Democrats to deny him another term as Speaker.

Read more details at the link below:

Perzel charged with theft, conspiracy in $10 million scheme - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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