Grand jury releases report, points to corruption in Pennsylvania legislature

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May 25, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: A grand jury that has spent the last two years investigating the "Bonusgate" scandal issued a report stating that the Pennsylvania legislature is rife with corruption and in need of major reforms. The 34 page report, given to legislative leaders on Monday, found that state workers spend a great amount of time on campaign related work. They also were unable to find valid justification for the 2,800 legislative employees - that boils down to 9 for each representative, and 17 for each senator.[1] The focus of the bonusgate scandal was on the illegal use of public resources and legislative employees to do campaign work. So far criminal charges have been brought against 25 people, including legislators from each party.

Recommendations of the grand jury include:

  • Cease per diem payments to lawmakers for time in Harrisburg
  • Make the General Assembly a part-time body, allowing for cuts in staff and salaries
  • Impose term limits, increase House terms to 4 years
  • Institute stronger ethics rules

In testimony to the grand jury, Rutgers political science professor Alan Rosenthal concluded that Pennsylvania has not kept up with ethics and accountability standards that most other states have in place, stating, "It's still doing what all the states did in the 1950s and 1960s."

The full report can be read here.

References

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