Today, Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that three more people face charges in his ongoing probe into legislative misdeeds. The two main targets, Majority Whip Bill DeWeese and Revenue Secretary Steve Stetler, are the highest ranking officials to be ensnared in the investigation thus far. Combined, Stetler, DeWeese, and DeWeese staffer Sharon Rodavich face a total of 18 counts of conspicacy, fraud, and theft.
Corbett seems to be working his way up the food chain. Where will it all end?
Like Democrats charged previously, DeWeese, Stetler, and Rodavich are accused of using tax dollars to fund political activities. They allegedly oversaw various schemes that spent tax dollars on political efforts, including fundraising and opposition research.
Both DeWeese and Stetler are key players in the Democratic circles. Stetler is a member of Gov. Ed Rendell's cabinet and DeWeese is the third highest ranking member of the state legislature.
In the first round of charges, which came in July of 2008, was former State Rep. Mike Veon. Veon was well past his political prime, having lost reelection narrowly in 2006.
The second round of charges, which were annouced on November 12th, included State Rep. John Perzel, the former Speaker of the House. Perzel was the first sitting lawmaker to be charged in the investigation, but became considerlably less influencial after Republicans lost control of the majority.
Now, Corbett has thrust a dagger into the heart of the Democratic Caucus. DeWeese has been a member of the State House since 1976 and was Speaker of the House in the early 1990s. He has been a key player in many issues, including the expansion of table games. Stetler was the policy chief for House Democrats before being tapped for the Rendell Adminstration.
It's anyone's guess where this investigation goes next.