Share This Page

Senate Republicans detail scope of bonus investigation

HARRISBURG -- Since a bonus scandal surfaced in 2007, Senate Republicans turned over "tens of thousands of documents" to investigators, as well as e-mail, telephone and Internet records, they said in a statement on Monday.

In their most comprehensive statement on the investigation, Senate Republicans said the state Attorney General's Office has interviewed officials affiliated with the caucus, and former Senate Republican General Counsel Stephen MacNett twice voluntarily appeared before an investigating grand jury.

Senate Republicans "have done everything possible to cooperate with the Attorney General's office," said the statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County.

Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for Attorney General Linda Kelly, said he could not comment on any investigation.

A law firm the caucus hired interviewed 55 current and former caucus employees and provided the information learned in those interviews to the attorney general.

The Senate Republicans have paid $2.5 million for outside legal fees in the bonus investigation.

No one has been subpoenaed, said Senate GOP spokesman Erik Arneson.

Prosecutors charged 12 people tied to the House Democratic Caucus with using public resources for campaign work. Two were acquitted and 10 pleaded guilty or were convicted. The cases began with an investigation into the illegal awarding of bonuses for campaign work.

In a spinoff probe of House Republicans, five people entered guilty pleas. Three Republicans are slated for trial later this month. The GOP scheme involved $10 million worth of computer equipment and programs intended for use on campaigns.

Records showed bonuses given to legislative staffers in the 2005-06 session totaled $3.6 million. House Democrats handed out $2.3 million; House Republicans, $919,000; Senate Republicans $366,000 and Senate Democrats, $41,000.

Senate Republicans were the first caucus, at Scarnati's order, to release a complete list of bonuses.

The award or receipt of a bonus is not a crime. Tying the bonuses to campaigns is illegal, prosecutors said.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, started the investigation when he was attorney general. Corbett's critics claimed he would not investigate the Senate Republicans because they have historically been strong financial and political supporters.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.