For the first time, Pennsylvanians can take pride in the fact that both Repansycan and Democrass criminals are going to jail for public malfeasance.
This is why Tom Corbett won the race for governor and will someday be a force in national politics, if that is what he wants.
Ex-House Speaker Perzel pleads guilty
Former Speaker John Perzel has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a state public corruption investigation of the House Republican Caucus.
Perzel entered the plea in Dauphin County court Wednesday to two counts of conflict of interest, two counts of theft, and four counts of conspiracy.
As part of the plea deal, the 61-year-old Perzel agreed to cooperate with state prosecutors. He faces a maximum of 24 years in prison and a $50,000 fine when he is sentenced. Prosecutors said it's likely he will serve at least 18 months to four years.
In a statement, Perzel apologized to his constituents. "To the voters who put their trust in me, I want to express my profound regret for my actions," the statement read. "You had a right to expect better from me, and I am sorry that I let you down."
Prosecutors in the state attorney general's office said Perzel's cooperation in their investigation is critical. It's likely he will testify against others.
"Whenever we have somebody of this responsibility and this position stepping forward and taking responsibility for illegal conduct, its an important event," Chief Deputy Attorney Frank Fina said.
Prosecutors secured a fifth guilty plea in the case from Perzel's nephew, 36-year-old old Eric Ruth. The former House Republican Information Technology Deputy Director admitted to one count each of conflict of interest and conspiracy.
Three people who worked for Perzel - ex-chief-of-staff Paul Towhey, brother-in-law Samuel Stokes, and former campaign aide Don McClintock - pleaded guilty earlier this month and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of other defendants as part of an agreement with the state attorney general's office.
Perzel is the highest-ranking state politician to admit guilt in the corruption investigation.
Perzel, of Philadelphia, was initially charged with 82 counts including theft, conflict of interest, and obstruction of justice. He was one of 10 people charged in November 2009 after then-Attorney General Tom Corbett led an investigation into the misuse of public funds, employees and resources in the caucus.
Corbett said Perzel orchestrated a scheme in which more than $10 million in taxpayer money was used to fund computer technology that was to give him and other candidates a competitive advantage in elections.