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Another Pa. Lawmaker Found Guilty Of Misusing Taxpayer Money For Political Purposes

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – For the second time this year, a sitting member of the Pennsylvania legislature has been convicted of using taxpayer resources for campaign purposes.

A jury in Pittsburgh has convicted Allegheny County state Senator Jane Orie, who had been the Republican whip of the Senate, on 14 counts related to charges that she used her taxpayer-funded legislative staff to do political work.

“I can tell you that we’re disappointed and there’s no positive spin I can put on it,” says Orie’s attorney William Costopoulos. “That having been said, the appellate process will be pursued.”

Orie’s conviction comes less than two weeks after the former longtime Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, Robert Mellow, agreed to plead guilty, and less than two months after current state House Democrat William DeWeese was convicted.

Just last week, former Republican House Speaker John Perzel was sentenced to prison. All of those cases also involved misuse of taxpayer-funded staff and resources.