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Pennsylvania

Probe zeros in on House Republican staffers

| Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008

Several state House Republican staff members have been subpoenaed in the attorney general's investigation into whether state money was used to pay for political campaign work, a caucus spokesman said.

The exact number of subpoenas isn't known. The Tribune-Review reported Aug. 8 that more than 20 House Republican staffers spoke to Attorney General Tom Corbett's investigators without being subpoenaed.

House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said Saturday he did not know how many subpoenas had been issued or in which offices the staff members worked. He has said the caucus is fully cooperating with Corbett's investigation.

The investigation centers on bonuses awarded to legislative staffers in 2005-06, a tough election cycle for incumbents battling public outrage over pay raises that lawmakers granted themselves.

Legislative leaders have denied that the money was paid for political work. Most of it -- $2.2 million -- went to House Democratic staffers. Republicans got about $919,000.

Charges of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest were filed July 11 against 12 Democrats, including Rep. Sean Ramaley and former Majority Whip Mike Veon, both of Beaver County.

Corbett, a Republican, had been criticized because he has charged only Democrats. He is running for re-election this year.

Corbett has said he is investigating all four caucuses in the House and Senate. His spokesman, Kevin Harley, declined comment yesterday.

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