In an effort to reign in public corruption at all levels of government, state Sen. John Yudichak today announced his support of the Public Integrity Commission.

"I am pleased to join this bipartisan effort to restore the public trust and integrity to government," Yudichak said at a Capitol news conference today. "We must strive for greater transparency, accountability and public openness to government at all levels."

Citing the recent juvenile justice scandal, where judges committed racketeering and other offenses in connection to the sentencing and incarceration of over 2,500 juvenile defendants, Yudichak said that these instances of corruption and abuse must be prevented.

"In my home county of Luzerne, we are still reeling from this infamous and despicable scandal," Yudichak said. "While the outrage is warranted and understandable, I believe it is our responsibility to restore public confidence and trust."

The Public Integrity Commission would:

Ÿ Uncover and investigate public corruption at all levels and in all branches of government within the Commonwealth.

Ÿ Serve both a law enforcement role (as a criminal justice agency) and an educational role with respect to corruption in Pennsylvania.

Ÿ Work cooperatively with other law enforcement entities.

Ÿ Take over the current duties of the Ethics Commission regarding financial interest statements and conflicts of interest.

Yudichak added that the Public Integrity Commission would put more resources, more accountability and more authority into the hands of those who can prevent this level of corruption from ever happening again.

"The people of Pennsylvania demand and deserve greater accountability from all levels of government," Yudichak said. "If we are to be truly responsible stewards of the public's trust, we must make the processes of government more transparent, we must take the lead and the Public Integrity Commission is a big step in that direction."