According to leaked grand jury transcripts, the Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania State House may be implicated in the ongoing probe into legislative corruption. A cooperating witness told prosecutors that State Rep. Todd Eachus used public money to fund work on political campaigns.
John Paul Jones, a $62,000-a-year legislative research specialist until December 2007, told the grand jury that Eachus (D., Luzerne) brought him onto the state payroll after the November 2006 election, which returned Democrats to the majority in the House, with a cover story about his legislative work.
"That was sort of like the code of, here's what I do, but really I was solely there as a political guy," Jones said.
Jones testified that Eachus told him he considered the General Assembly's capability to produce public service announcements a free tool to help incumbents get reelected.
The stain of corruption in Harrisburg just keeps spreading. The leaked testimony makes clear former staffers are critical to the case.
In a May 2008 grand-jury appearance, Jones said that while he was working for the House Democratic Campaign Committee in the run-up to the 2006 election, he and another campaign committee employee worked closely with Eachus out of an office in the Capitol's East Wing.
He said they helped Eachus phone Democratic state representatives to pressure them either to donate to the campaign committee or promise to spend a certain amount on their own races.
"As Todd would often say, he wanted to spend what he called soft dollars, which were government dollars, on public service announcements so that we had to ultimately spend less hard campaign dollars," Jones testified.
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