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Even Some Veteran Reporters Surprised By Scope Of PA Turnpike Scandal

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(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(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) — The scope of an alleged corruption scheme at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission detailed by the state attorney general has taken even some veteran statehouse journalists by surprise.

Charges have been filed against former state Senate Democratic Leader Robert Mellow, former turnpike Commissioner Mitchell Rubin, and former turnpike CEO Joseph Brimmeier, among others, in what the attorney general described as a scheme for personal enrichment and political contributions (read related story).

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Brad Bumsted, the author of a forthcoming book about Pennsylvania pols on the take, says there have long been rumors about corruption at the turnpike. But, he says, they mostly involved things like patronage and cronyism.

“The full extent of these allegations,” Brumsted says, “that there’s a ‘pay to play’ scheme and the brazenness of some of the allegations — that was surprising.”

Bumsted’s book, “Keystone Corruption,” is due to be published by Camino Books in May.

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