State of Corruption: Scofflaw pols
Slower even than the wheels of justice in Pennsylvania is the payment of restitution by the state's former politicos nabbed for abusing the privilege of public office, a new report shows.
Since 2008, when initial charges of illegal bonus payments were raised in Harrisburg, the total in cash penalties in public corruption cases involving convicted state lawmakers and legislative staffers comes to $4.6 million, The Patriot-News reports. But to date, only about $445,000 — less than 10 percent — has been collected.
Equally outrageous is that some of Pennsylvania's convicted pols, who trampled the public's trust while in office, have paid a pittance. Others have fully paid what they owe.
Among some of the standouts, former House Speaker John Perzel and his top aide, Brian Preski, were ordered to pay $1 million each in restitution, The Patriot-News reports. As of Oct. 18, Mr. Perzel has paid nothing. Mr. Preski? He's ponied up $20.
Whereas payment plans typically are assigned when restitution is ordered, enforcement is problematic in Pennsylvania, according to a statewide task force that examined ways to improve restitution payments.
There should be no confusion over a formal repayment schedule. And if these common crooks can't pay up within a legally defined schedule, then they should pay interest on the sum they owe.
Cash penalties shouldn't be brushed off, especially by those who have brushed off their sworn oath of office while illegally spending other people's money.
Show commenting policy
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.
- State of Corruption: The McCord scandal
- Saturday essay: A new (& blue) feeder
- Catholic Education Week: School choice & more
- Host a Super Bowl?: False prophets/profits
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Sunday pops
- The atom smasher
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- The Thursday wrap
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances