Harrisburg GOP staffer, a Bonusgate figure, retires
HARRISBURG - Brett O. Feese, a former state lawmaker from the Williamsport area, retired this week as the top attorney for House Republicans a post that had made him Harrisburg's highest paid legislative aide.
HARRISBURG - Brett O. Feese, a former state lawmaker from the Williamsport area, retired this week as the top attorney for House Republicans – a post that had made him Harrisburg's highest paid legislative aide.
Feese gave up his $197,000-a-year job as general counsel to the House GOP caucus on Tuesday, several weeks after receiving a letter from state prosecutors inviting him to testify before a grand jury in the Bonusgate probe.
He was among as many as a dozen people with ties to House Republicans who received such letters - typically sent by prosecutors to people they expect to charge, but not always.
Feese, 55, did not return calls placed to his home and cell phone today.
His wife, Gwen, said that "there's no story" behind her husband's decision to retire. "He's just moved on to a different phase of law, he's just in there working," she said.
Steve Miskin, a spokesman for House Republicans, confirmed today that Feese had retired on Tuesday, but he could not offer a reason why.
The statewide grand jury impaneled by Attorney General Tom Corbett has been investigating political corruption at the Capitol since early 2007.
Last year, a dozen people associated with the House Democratic caucus were charged with carrying out a scheme to pay several millions of dollars in government bonuses to legislative aides as rewards for working on political campaigns.
Corbett, a Republican gubernatorial candidate next year, has promised that he would investigate both parties from both legislative chambers.
It is unclear what the grand jury's interest is in Feese.
Kevin Harley, a spokesman for the attorney general, declined comment.
For years, Feese had served as a top official on the House Republican Campaign Committee – the political arm of the caucus whose mission it is to get GOP members elected to the lower chamber.
Feese served as the district attorney of Lycoming County before winning a House seat in 1994. He represented the north-central Pennsylvania county for a dozen years - the last two as the powerful head of the Appropriations Committee - before deciding not to seek reelection in 2006.
Upon leaving office Dec. 1, 2006, he was immediately hired to serve as the chief legal counsel to House GOP members.
Miskin also confirmed today that Al Bowman, a longtime GOP legislative aide in Harrisburg known for his tireless work on political campaigns, has resigned effective in two weeks. In an e-mail, Bowman said he resigned "to pursue other endeavors" after putting in long hours for the past 15 years.
He said there was no connection to Corbett's investigation.
"I needed to spend more time with my family," Bowman said. "Nothing more."