There has only been one trial, but the "Bonusgate" investigation is already having political ramifications. Yesterday, House Democrats chose a new Majority Whip in a closed-door caucus meeting.

Rep. Frank Dermody, D-33, Oakmont, is the new Majority Whip, succeeding Rep. Bill DeWeese who resigned the post earlier this week after being charged with misusing legislative employees for campaign work in the ongoing "Bonusgate" investigation of the state Legislature.

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The whip's job is to round up votes for bills that Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell and caucus leaders are trying to get enacted.

According to another article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dermody's election may be a sign that there's a changing of the guard happening in the legislature.

Members said the outcome was a sign the rank-and-file wanted to move in a new direction. They rejected Mr. Preston, who was the candidate favored by caucus leaders.

"Clearly, [Mr. Dermody] was not the consensus candidate of our leadership. The vote shows that members weren't happy with the status quo leadership," said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill.

Rep. David Levdansky, D-Forward, agreed.

"Members have been frustrated by the command-and-control mentality running our caucus. Members were feeling disconnected and not involved," said Mr. Levdansky, who considered running for the whip vacancy but instead supported Mr. Dermody.

Could this be a small step forward for reform, or will it just be more of the same?

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