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Draw your own conclusions

Published November 21. 2009 09:00AM

Dear Editor:

I would like to call some facts to the attention of the readers.

As you may know, the Bonusgate scandal began with allegations that several lawmakers used tax dollars to conduct election campaigns and to reward staff with bonuses for their work on these campaigns, all of which is illegal.

Fact 1: Recently, 10 more legislators and staff were charged with election-related crimes and with obstructing justice. The grand jury found that former House Speaker John Perzel was the architect behind a sophisticated criminal strategy that ultimately spent more than $10 million of taxpayers' money purely on campaign work between 2000 and 2007 (Press Release, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, November 12, 2009).

Fact 2: In 2005, then-House Speaker Perzel appointed then-state Rep. David Argall to a Senate-House conference committee which drafted the final version of House Bill 1521, the infamous midnight pay raise bill (Common Cause of Pennsylvania et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, Civil Action No. 1:CV-05-2039, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, February 6, 2006).

Fact 3: In 2007, several House leaders, led by House Minority Leader Sam Smith and then-House Minority Whip Argall, created a new title, that of "Speaker Emeritus," for former House Speaker Perzel (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 11, 2007).

Fact 4: On August 28, 2007, Friends of John Perzel gave $2,500 to Volunteers for David Argall (Pennsylvania Department of State, Campaign Finance Reporting).

I leave it up to the readers to draw their own conclusions from these facts.

Dr. Dante Picciano


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