Perzel charged with using taxpayer funds

    Nine Pennsylvania House Republican staffers and former Speaker John Perzel are being charged with misusing tax dollars for campaign purposes and obstructing justice.

    Nine Pennsylvania House Republican staffers and former Speaker John Perzel are being charged with misusing tax dollars for campaign purposes and obstructing justice.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091112sdbgate.mp3]

    Nearly a year and a half after he charged 12 Democrats with handing out tax dollar bonuses for campaign work, Attorney General Tom Corbett has indicted 10 Republicans for similar crimes.

    Corbett says Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican, spent more than $10 million tax dollars developing computer databases designed to help House Republicans win elections.

    Corbett: The data included maps of voting districts, results of all major Pennsylvania elections since 1992, and a statewide voter information file on all registered voters.

    Perzel claims he’s innocent, and says the charges “smack of political opportunism,” and were designed to deflect criticism that Corbett’s probe has only targeted Democrats.

    Corbett, who’s running for governor, also charged Chief Caucus Counsel Brett Feese, a former lawmaker, with obstructing the investigation by trying to hide evidence and forging fake documents.

    Eight other House GOP staffers have been indicted. Minority Leader Sam Smith says the charges are “shocking,” and maintains the caucus has been committed to separating legislative and campaign work.

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