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Old 07-10-2008, 01:59 PM   #1
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Angry Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

Freakin' scumbags stealing from the taxpayers of Pennsylvania for years. I hope they all rot in prison.

I am listening to the official announcement of indictments and charges by PA Attorney General Corbett now on KDKA radio. Thus far, former Democratic House Whip Michael Veon and Mike Manzo, former chief of staff to Democratic Rep. Bill DeWeese, are at the top of the list of thieving SOB's. Both will be indicted tomorrow and face prison time if convicted, which I have no doubt they will be. The evidence presented thus far is very damning and quite extensive.

This investigation is ongoing and more indictments will be forthcoming.

http://kdka.com/politics/Bonus.Gate.Mike.2.768069.html

Veon, 11 Others Face Charges In "Bonus Gate"

HARRISBURG (KDKA) ― After a grand jury investigation dubbed "Bonus Gate" that lasted nearly two years, Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced charges against former state Representative Mike Veon and eleven other people; and Corbett says the probe isn't over yet.

Not long after the public outcry over the legislative pay raise, the attorney general received complaints that legislators had staffers doing political campaign work on state time and getting state salary bonuses to the tune of $1.8 million for the work.

One of the primary targets of the investigation has been former House Whip Mike Veon, who lost his re-election bid in the wake of the pay raise outcry.

In February of 2007, prior to a fundraiser to help retire his campaign debt, Veon was asked about the alleged bonuses and said: "I'm very confident that everything that was done regarding the staff bonuses, staff salary, over the entire time that I was there - certainly the entire time I was in Democratic leadership - was done in a very proper, legal way."

At a news conference in Harrisburg this afternoon, Corbett told reporters that: "To be an employee on Veon's staff, campaign work was expected."

Corbett, however, says the award of bonuses is only part of the problem. More charges could be coming down soon.
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

More on this disgusting revelation:

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/...11/detail.html

State Rep. Ramaley, Mike Veon, Ex-DeWeese Staffer Charged In Bonus Probe

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A state representative, a former lawmaker and 10 other Democrats were accused of using public employees and taxpayer-owned equipment for political campaign purposes - the result of a probe spurred by nearly $4 million in secret legislative bonuses.

Rep. Sean Ramaley, a Beaver County Democrat; former Rep. Mike Veon, who served as Democratic whip; and Michael Manzo, a former chief of staff to Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, were among those named in Thursday's indictment.

The investigation by the state attorney general began with a look at whether some of the bonuses paid to legislative staffers in 2005 and 2006 were illegal rewards for campaign work. The largest chunk of the money - more than half the total - was paid by the House Democrats, who reclaimed control of the chamber in the November 2006 election after 12 years in the minority.

The case has gripped the state's political establishment for more than a year and a half. Attorney General Tom Corbett, who announced the charges Thursday, said he expects more arrests to follow.

The resulting indictment went far beyond the bonuses, however, in accusing the House Democratic staffers of using taxpayer money to fund campaign endeavors.

The bonuses came to light in January 2007, when The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported that recipients of "meritorious or bonus pay" received letters bearing DeWeese's signature that instructed them to keep quiet about the supplemental payments.

DeWeese, D-Greene, has maintained he did not personally sign the letters and did not know about them until much later. The bonuses were handed out so quietly that some lawmakers were unaware that people they supervise had been recipients.

Veon, DeWeese's second-in-command, represented a Beaver County district for 22 years but was voted out of office in 2006 by the anti-incumbent backlash over the 2005 legislative pay raises.

He maintains he did nothing wrong, defense lawyer Robert G. Del Greco Jr. said.

The House and Senate Republican caucuses also have been subpoenaed, but not the Senate Democratic caucus, spokesman Charlie Tocci said Wednesday.

Late last year DeWeese forced out seven Democratic House caucus employees - including Manzo - as a result of information that turned up in connection with the bonus investigation. All had received bonuses in 2005-06, in some cases well over $20,000.

Manzo's lawyer, Jim Eisenhower, declined to comment Thursday ahead of Corbett's announcement.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

More proof as to why Pennsylvania is the most corrupt state in the USA. Everything from the pay raise scandal, to Rendell and Onorato getting kickbacks from Barden after he (mistakenly) won the Pittsburgh slots license, to this. It's a complete joke. And since it primarily involves Democrats getting busted, it will eventually get swept under the rug by the media.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

Better get used to it! The bigger the population gets in this country the bigger the government will become. A bigger government allows for more douchebags to be corrupt without anyone taking notice because the government will be to big to govern!!! It's a vicious cycle with no end in sight!
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

Well, at least they protect us from the evil greedy unethical corporations that are ruining this country.....I can't wait for Pelosi to end this "culture of corruption."
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

Released on $50,000 bail? They're probably using taxpayer money they have stashed away to get their sleazy asses out of the pokey.

http://kdka.com/politics/Bonus.Gate.....2.768749.html

Veon, Others Arraigned On Charges In "Bonus Gate"

HARRISBURG (KDKA/AP) ― Former Democratic Whip Mike Veon and two other defendants indicted by a grand jury investigation were brought in handcuffs for their arraignment on charges stemming from the state attorney general's "Bonus Gate" investigation.

Harrisburg District Judge Joseph S. Solomon set bail for Veon, Brett Cott and Stephen Keefer at $50,000.

The grand jury determined that public funds were used to dole out hefty taxpayer-financed bonuses for staff members' campaign work.

Veon declined to comment to a KDKA news crew at his arraignment this morning.

Court officials said a fourth defendant, Jeff Foreman, was arraigned on Thursday and his bail also was $50,000.

Eight people connected to the House of Representatives' Democratic caucus also were charged by the state attorney general on Thursday in a wide-ranging public corruption probe.

The eight were expected to appear before Solomon today.

Veon was the second-ranking Democrat in the House before losing re-election in 2006; Cott is a political strategist and former aide to Veon and House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene; Keefer is former director of information technologies for the House Democrats.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

This is disgusting. The most disgusting part to me it that none of the accused think they've done anything wrong.

Here in NE PA, where corruption in government is a way of life (and we're all Dems up here, so don't think that I have an axe to grind), a local talk show host noted that Rep Mellow has a huge fundraiser every year about this time, and "everyone who is anyone" shows up and has a hell of a good time; it's actually quite a party. So, on the air, he called Rep Mellow's local office and asked the receptionist where he could get tickets. She answered him that he could just come down to the office any time and a staffer could hook him up with as many tickets as he needed! When Rep Mellow was asked about it, he blew it off as if it was nothing consequential at all, like he does EVERY time he is questioned about anything that offends his sense of entitlement.

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Old 07-11-2008, 11:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

In our country, the money will always protect the money.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

My mistake; it wasn't "on air". And I had Mellow confused with Musto. But here is Corbett's account:

http://wilknetwork.com/Yeah--Yeah--T...Ticket/2581386

Steve Corbett Reporting
corbett@wilknewsradio.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, at about the same time that Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett was announcing the first criminal charges in a massive state government public corruption scandal, I called state Sen. Bob Mellow’s office with a serious question.

“Where can I buy tickets to the senator’s picnic?” I asked.

“We have them here,” said the woman who answered the phone at Mellow’s Peckville office.

People can also buy them at the picnic, she said, that is scheduled for next Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Toyota Pavilion on Montage Mountain. Tickets cost $35, she said.

“What’s the picnic for?” I asked.

“The senator,” she said.

“Yeah, but what’s the picnic for?” I asked again.

The woman at the state senator’s state office then said on state time that the picnic is an annual fundraising event that raises money for Mellow when he runs for office.

“I see,” I said.

The woman then referred me to another worker in Mellow’s district office.

“He’s handling it,” she said, referring to Mellow’s campaign fundraising ticket sales.

I had called to see if I could get a phone number for the political campaign committee known as the Friends of Bob Mellow. The powerful Democrat from Peckville has many friends who contribute money to his campaigns.

And I’m interested in who they are.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that campaign fundraising from picnic ticket sales might be taking place in my state senator’s office at the same time that the state attorney general was announcing a crackdown on similar behavior in Harrisburg.

So I called Mellow’s office in Harrisburg.

A woman answered the telephone number posted on Mellow’s website that took me to the “Democratic Leader’s” office.

Mellow is the Democratic Leader in the Senate.

I asked her where I could buy tickets to Mellow’s picnic. She transferred me to another Mellow staffer. I asked him the same question. After a few moments, he provided me with a number. But when I called the number was not in service.

So I again called the Democratic Leader’s number on Capitol Hill.

When I began to tell the same woman who had earlier answered the phone what had happened, she said that she had found out where I should call for picnic tickets. She gave me Mellow’s district office number in Peckville.

When I called back, the same woman who told me she had picnic tickets answered the phone. This time I asked to talk with the Mellow staffer who she had earlier told me was handling Mellow’s fundraising picnic tickets.

This time, though, the woman asked me my name. I told her. And, although she had earlier told me that the man was in his office, she now told me that he had stepped away from his desk.

So, who’s in charge of this clambake, anyway, I wanted to know. Who’s running this pig roast? Who’s handling the money?

“The Friends of Bob Mellow,” she said.

“Do you have a phone number for them?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

“Could you see if you might find one?” I asked.

The woman told me to hold. Then she came back on the line with the number. When I called, a recorded voice identified the fun group as the very group I had earlier set out to find.

Mission accomplished.

I left a message and asked for somebody to return my call and maybe talk with us today on “Corbett” about the picnic.

Mellow’s party sounds like a good time – even if Pennsylvania politics is definitely no picnic.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Bonus Gate Revealed in Pennsylvania

Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
More proof as to why Pennsylvania is the most corrupt state in the USA. Everything from the pay raise scandal, to Rendell and Onorato getting kickbacks from Barden after he (mistakenly) won the Pittsburgh slots license, to this. It's a complete joke. And since it primarily involves Democrats getting busted, it will eventually get swept under the rug by the media.
I think that title would have to go to Mississippi. We have the most public officials in jail per capita.

And one VERY underreported story is that Haley Barbour has been lining his own pockets with recovery money, including no-bid contracts to "consulting" firms owned by his friends and family. The housing recovery program is being administered by two of his cronies in the state Legislature, and he's trying to divert housing money to the port.

We also rampant judicial bribery. We just had a prominent trial attorney (who is also Trent Lott's brother-in-law) get five years for trying to bribe a judge, and we have a few judges in the pokey for taking bribes in civil cases.
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