AG: Pa. senator bullied staff to work on campaigns - abc27 WHTM

AG: Pa. senator bullied staff to work on campaigns

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A Pennsylvania state senator is facing theft and conflict of interest charges for allegedly using taxpayer money and state-paid staffers for work on her political campaigns.

Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) pressured employees with intimidation and verbal abuse, and cut salaries and jobs when staffers complained the work was against the law, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a news release.

A grand jury that recommended charges against Washington found she used state-paid employees and equipment at her district offices to organize an annual campaign fundraiser that coincided with her birthday in late July.

Kane said some of Washington's staffers devoted almost all of their time working on the fundraiser in the weeks and months before the event.

She said the monetary loss to the state is believed to be at least $30,000 to more than $100,000.

Kane said Washington was a main sponsor of an ethical conduct policy the Senate adopted in 2010, in the wake of criminal charges against other state legislators, but at the same time was violating laws the policy was based upon.

The felony theft charge against her carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, while the conflict of interest charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.


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