Monday, June 4, 2012
TO REIMBURSE, OR NOT TO REIMBURSE
Former Sen. Jane Orie has been sentenced to 2-½ to 10 years on crimes Tom Corbett refused to investigate.
It's undecided whether she should repay the taxpayers $1.3 million in legal fees.
Her attorneys argue she shouldn't have to reimburse the state, because Bill DeWeese, John Perzel and Mike Veon never had to repay legal fees incurred by the taxpayers.
There's a good reason Veon never was asked to repay legal fees - the taxpayers never spent a dime on Veon's legal fees. Veon was deposed from office long before the prosecutorial arm of the Tom Corbett for Governor Campaign even dreamed of the word "bonusgate." It was widely reported (then apparently forgotten) that Veon's lawyers unsuccessfully tried to have the House Democratic Caucus cover his legal fees.
DeWeese is another story. He paid a well-connected legal dealmaker at least $1.7 million in taxpayer funds to insulate himself from Corbett's initial investigation. He also used taxpayer dollars to pay the legal fees of staff members who agreed to testify against DeWeese's chosen targets.
Your taxpayer dollars nearly succeeded in keeping DeWeese out of hot water, until a leaked email revealed that Corbett had evidence of DeWeese's wrongdoing, and Corbett put the Sandusky investigation on the back burner while he scrambled to put together a belated, ass-covering indictment of DeWeese (suspiciously, not on bonus-related charges).
Because the House did not directly pay DeWeese's legal fees in connection with those non-bonus-related charges, DeWeese has not been asked to reimburse the taxpayers.
DeWeese's ability to bleed the taxpayers will not be hindered by his incarceration. His refusal to remove his name from the ballot, even though he will be ineligible to serve if he is elected, could cost the state another $150,000 for a special election. It's possible that before all is said and done, the citizens of the 50th Legislative District will have gone an entire year without representation in the House. Who will reimburse them?