12 Dems Charged in Massive Corruption Case

12 Pennsylvania Democrats are charged…

Millions in public funds used for political gain, probe finds
Charges include using public funds to bump Ralph Nader from the ballot in 2004 and using state employees to provide political services.
The Post Gazette reported:

Grand jurors here and in Pittsburgh cataloged what they described as a culture of corruption that allowed former state Rep. Michael Veon, current Rep. Sean Ramaley and 10 current and former Democratic staffers to divert millions of dollars in state resources, including more than $1 million in illegal pay bonuses.

The jurors said Mr. Veon and the staff members conspired to arrange hefty year-end pay bonuses to House employees who worked on political campaigns over a three-year period, while Mr. Ramaley is accused of working full-time on his 2004 House campaign in Beaver County while drawing a taxpayer salary as a member of Mr. Veon’s staff.

The findings ran from the political to the salacious.

It found that tax money was used to bump third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Carl Romanelli from the Pennsylvania ballot in 2004 and 2006. Grand jurors said state money was used to provide a no-work job to a high-ranking House aide’s mistress.

State employees were routinely diverted from their jobs to provide political services and, in the case of Mr. Veon, to transport his motorcycles to South Dakota for his vacation and to provide dinners to members of Mr. Veon’s informal basketball league.

“The theft of taxpayers’ funds and resources was extensive,” said state Attorney General Tom Corbett, who yesterday filed an array of charges against Mr. Veon, Mr. Ramaley and the others, while hinting at more to come.

“Let me make this perfectly clear: This is not the conclusion,” he said at a news conference here.

Attorneys for Mr. Veon and Mr. Ramaley said their clients are innocent of wrongdoing.

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