The tale of two state employees linked to the scandal engulfing Harrisburg underscores the culture of corruption that has spread among a number of lawmakers elected to represent taxpayers.
Angela Bertugli is a former local beauty queen who told investigators that she got her state job after having sex with the then-chief of staff to House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese.
Meanwhile, Terry Shaffer, an aide to former state Rep. Frank LaGrotta, is out of work after blowing the whistle on his boss' shenanigans.
Shaffer went to prosecutors with evidence that LaGrotta's sister and niece had been given do-nothing state jobs.
When investigators approached LaGrotta, he apparently pointed them to a bigger scandal now known as Bonusgate. So far, a sitting lawmaker, a former top House Democrat, and 10 aides have been indicted in that probe.
Prosecutors allege the lawmakers and staffers were engaged in a conspiracy whereby state workers performed election-related duties rather than their day jobs, and received taxpayer-funded bonuses for their efforts.
The state attorney general has fingered only House Democrats, but the widespread investigation is believed to include Republicans who also doled out bonuses to staffers.
The probe has exposed Harrisburg as a political swamp where a number of lawmakers act as if they are above the law.
As such, Shaffer, the whistleblower who got the investigation rolling, should be lauded for his courage in shining a light on alleged illegal activity involving tax dollars. Instead, he's out of work and his house is in foreclosure, he told Daily News columnist John Baer.
Meanwhile, the beauty queen continues to get paid. Bertugli - crowned Miss Rain Day 2001 at a Greene County beauty pageant - was 21 in 2004 when she met DeWeese's former chief of staff, Michael Manzo, 35, at a bar. They shared drinks and then had a tryst in a car.
The following year the beauty queen was given a state job as a researcher in a field office above a cigar store in Pittsburgh. By 2006, her salary jumped 42 percent to $30,000, plus she got a $7,000 bonus.
Bertugli remains on the state payroll, and now makes $45,344. DeWeese defended her employment because she cooperated with investigators and told the truth.
So to sum up: A beauty queen given a state job in return for sex remains on the public payroll. But Shaffer, the whistleblower who alerted prosecutors to his boss' family hires, remains out of work.