Admitted felon Robert Powell handed "cash-stuffed envelopes" to a "prominent state lawmaker" as the two walked off Powell's plane together in late 2006, according to a witness in a Luzerne County corruption trial.
The witness claimed Powell has testified to a grand jury about "paying off" the lawmaker.
The prominent state lawmaker was not identified.
There may be plenty of prominent state lawmakers who've flown in Powell's plane; it could be anyone. Really. However, we know of only one who has admitted it.
Former House Majority Leader Todd Eachus said last year that he flew with Powell on Jan. 31, 2007. He initially lied about the flight, saying he accepted it because he had to rush back to Harrisburg to cast votes, and later backtracked when confronted with the facts. He has refused to respond to a report that he has flown with Powell more than once.
At the time, Powell was trying to develop a cargo airport and Eachus supported legislation that would have allocated $495 million in taxpayer dollars for the project. Eachus abandoned support for the project after Powell admitted paying judges to sentence juveniles to a detention center Powell co-owned.
Eachus accepted $18,000 in campaign contributions from Powell, according to the opponent who defeated him in November's election.
A little over a year ago, Eachus allegedly received an invitation to testify before a state grand jury investigating legislative corruption.
Though they were originally not indicted in then-Attorney General Tom Corbett's gubernatorial campaign-launching investigation, Eachus, former Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, and former Campaign Committee Operations Chair Steve Stetler drew widespread attention after press leaks revealed that Corbett had ignored or overlooked evidence implicating them. Corbett later attempted to gloss over his embarrassment by belatedly indicting DeWeese and Stetler (DeWeese on unrelated charges), but Eachus remained untouched.
It's not clear whether Powell is supposed to have testified before the investigative arm of the Corbett for Governor campaign or some other grand jury, but an active federal investigation might explain why Eachus was not part of Corbett's December 2009 attempt at damage control.