Convicted of corruption, DeWeese bids Pa. House colleagues farewell

    A former Pennsylvania House Democratic leader found guilty of corruption has said goodbye to the chamber where he’s spent more than 30 years as a member.

    Rep. Bill DeWeese took the podium Tuesday, outlining the three parts of his farewell address to the House: gratitude, humility and friendship.

    He joked his colleagues would think the part about humility would be the shortest. It was.

    “Now I’m not as humble as I want to be, but I’m a lot more humble than I used to be. And that’s pretty much that part of the speech,” he said.

    DeWeese’s conviction on five counts of corruption may have played a part in that newfound humility.

    Sentencing is in three weeks for the Greene County lawmaker who offered some advice to his colleagues — that the House be more about partnership than partisanship in the future.

    But DeWeese acknowledged he’s played the partisan role.

    “There are important things — and I can say it with the harsh reality of the moment — there are more important things than the speaker’s gavel for me now, and there are more important things than the speaker’s portrait,” he said.

    The address was not short on historical references, nor was it short on words that make you reach for your dictionary.

    It also did not include an apology.

    That didn’t seem to matter — after roughly 20 minutes, DeWeese got a nearly full standing ovation from House members, and supporters who lined the back wall.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.