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March 16, 2009

Powerful Pennsylvania Legislator Convicted on 137 Counts of Malfeasance and Self-Dealing

What party was he? I have no idea whatsoever. I've read three short pieces on the Philadelphia Inquirer and still don't know. I guess it's a stone cold mystery and will be forever.

Unless you have Wikipedia. Hint: He's a city machine pol who brings home the bacon.

Here's the statement from the US Attorney who prosecuted him:

Vincent Fumo, a once powerful politician, will now face the consequences of spending other people’s money, taxpayers’ money, our money, to provide himself with the extraordinarily lavish lifestyle that he felt he was entitled to.

...

Public officials must remember that public service is a privilege and an honor, not an opportunity for personal bias and gain.

Public officials must remember the arrogant rationalizations that juries in this case and others have emphatically rejected.

“I am worth it” is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis, for spending at least ninety thousand dollars of charity money on tools and appliances, including almost seven thousand dollars just on high-end vacuum cleaners for your four homes.

“Everyone is doing this” is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis, for taking the Seaport Museum’s luxury yacht for a cruise without paying for it, or giving no-work contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to your friends.

...

“But I have worked so hard,” even if it were true, is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis for spending, to borrow the Senator’s term, OPM - “other people’s money,” to pay for people to oversee the renovation of your 33-room mansion, to clean that mansion, to paint your home - and your girlfriend’s home - with hundred dollar a gallon paint, to follow your ex-girlfriend, spy on her, and try to get her arrested.

Hard work never, never, balances the scales against such abuse.

Vincent Fumo used his vast power to build an empire of senate employees, government paid contractors, and non-profit charity workers, to serve as personal servants and political operatives, to satisfy his many and utterly extravagant wants and needs, personal and political.

His actions claimed real victims – the State Senate, a chaity, a museum, the government, and most important, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Vince Fumo did not just cross the line that divides proper and improper conduct.

He completely ignored the line, as if it could not be seen, as if it had been painted over.

And when Vince Fumo found himself so far on the wrong side of those lines that he felt there was no turning back, he did everything possible to erase the trail that led us to him.

...

There should never be another Fumo World, a world in which millions of dollars of taxpayer and charity money went to enrich and feed one man’s gluttony.

The public is weary of officials playing by their own rules and ignoring lines.

We hope that our investigation and prosecution, and the jury’s verdict of guilty, has served to restore some of the public’s confidence in the integrity of our system of government.

DavidR., who tips, informs me Ed Rendell was a character witness (think about that -- the governor serving as a character witness for this scumbag) during the trial. After the verdict, he had no comment.


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posted by Ace at 03:41 PM

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