In one of her first notes to constituents, freshman Democratic State Rep. Leslie Acosta warned about consumer cons saying "scammers don't take a holiday."
Acosta should know: Her public career has been one perpetual scam.
Before getting elected, she had a no-show job at a North Philadelphia mental health clinic and kicked back her salary to her boss, Renee Tartaglione, a prominent city Democratic Party figure.
In the midst of Acosta's term she pleaded guilty to her role in the embezzlement scheme and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation into the clinic. The Justice Department argued to seal the guilty pleas of cooperators in the Tartaglione case citing "security" risks.
Selfishly, Acosta didn't bother to let the public know her new status as a felon when voters could do something about it. Instead, it was first reported in The Inquirer
Acosta also ignored her ethical obligation to resign from office at the time of her March plea. Instead, she is now seeking re-election as a felon, which is breathtaking even by Harrisburg's standards.
Elected felons like Acosta are barred from holding office after convictions. But incredibly in Pennsylvania, a conviction isn't considered fully baked until sentencing. Acosta's sentencing is scheduled for January, right around the time she would be getting sworn into office for a second term.
She is all but guaranteed re-election because the mummified Republican Party hasn't fielded a candidate against her, and the city Democratic Party usually steps carefully around its criminally charged and convicted officeholders.
Acosta's missteps did manage to finally awaken city Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady, a congressman who is also facing reelection. Brady called for Acosta's resignation on Monday. The epiphany, however, doesn't excuse Brady's failed leadership of a party that has seen 15 elected officials convicted on corruption charges in three years.
Brady and other party leaders - including Mayor Kenney, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, Council President Darrell Clarke, and State Rep. Dwight Evans, who is in line to replace convicted congressman Chaka Fattah - need to recruit and support candidates who are at least ethical and competent.
Acosta's deception is just one example of the lousy representation too many Philadelphians have been forced to tolerate for years.
Steeped in poverty and violent crime, Acosta's North Philadelphia district is especially vulnerable to cynical politicians, including her crooked predecessor, former State Rep. Jose P. Miranda. Acosta won the 2014 Democratic primary against Miranda, who ran for reelection after he had been arrested in a ghost employee scheme. Eventually, Miranda pleaded guilty.
Now, Acosta is refusing to resign. In keeping with her no-show employee skills, she didn't show up for work in Harrisburg on Monday. Amazingly, her fellow Democrats voted on legislation in her name three times, under a practice called "ghost voting."
Let that be her final insult to Philadelphians.