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Former state prosecutor Carusone held 'wrong job' for Corbett in General Assembly, Allegheny County GOP chief says

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Chris Carusone, the former head of appeals, no longer is employed in Harrisburg by the Philadelphia law firm Conrad O’Brien.

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HARRISBURG — The point man for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's agenda in the General Assembly until recently was Christopher Carusone, a former state prosecutor who played a role in Corbett's investigation of the Legislature from 2007 through 2010.

His appointment mystified Capitol observers.

“I don't know what they were thinking,” said Allegheny County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Roddey. “It really infuriated legislators. (Carusone) is a very capable guy ... a gentleman and a good lawyer. It was the wrong job for him.”

Carusone, who is joining Conrad O'Brien law firm's Harrisburg office, said his former job with the state Attorney General's Office did not affect his work as Corbett's liaison with lawmakers.

“This is something that never came up in conversations with rank-and-file legislators, nor did it influence the working relationship I had with members,” he said.

Yet the undercurrent was there, Roddey said. Lawmakers “were feeling the heat” when the attorney general investigated the Legislature. “They were looking over their shoulders.”

Carusone joined the administration in April 2011 in the Office of General Counsel. He was promoted to secretary of legislative affairs in September, making $145,740. Carusone was a “model of personal integrity,” devoted to duty, Corbett said.

Corbett was attorney general until January 2011. His investigation of abuse of state resources resulted in 23 convictions of people with ties to the House Democratic and Republican caucuses.

Carusone was former chief deputy attorney general in charge of appeals. He played a limited role at trial in the prosecution and conviction of former House Democratic leader Mike Veon on theft-related charges in 2010. He was not a day-to-day investigator on legislative corruption cases.

Carusone's departure from the Corbett administration last week was voluntary; he had agreed to be legislative secretary for one year. His leaving coincided with Corbett's replacing Chief of Staff Steve Aichele.

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