DeWeese to face corruption trial
July 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Former House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese told a Grand Jury that public employees doing campaign work out of the Capitol was “part of the culture” in Harrisburg.
Prosecutors read from the transcript during this morning’s preliminary hearing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Tracie Mauriello. The Attorney General’s office told a judge the case is clear-cut — that DeWeese essentially admitted to ordering staffers to raise money and organize campaign efforts from their legislative offices.
But DeWeese’s lawyer, Bill Costopoulos, argued the Greene County Democrat thought staffers were doing the work on personal and comp time, and had no idea they were earning public money by electing Democrats to office.
DeWeese has been at the center of the “Bonusgate” storm since January 2007, when the Patriot-News first reported House Democrats were handing out tax-funded bonuses to staffers who volunteered on campaigns. DeWeese disavowed all knowledge of the bonuses-for-campaigning scheme, and was never charged with crimes related to it.
Instead, Attorney General Tom Corbett accused DeWeese of overseeing fundraising and campaigning within his own office. The judge bound DeWeese for trial. A date has not been set yet.