The charges allege Senator Washington used state-paid employees and equipment at her district offices to organize an annual political campaign birthday fundraiser to be held in late July, coinciding with Senator Washington’s birthday.
Senator Washington allegedly hid the activities from staff who expressed concern over the practices they knew to be wrong, going so far as to issue salary cuts and fire staff who disagreed with the activities.
In addition, the grand jury learned that signs and posters for the political fundraiser were printed at the Senate Graphic Design Department located in Harrisburg, as well as congratulatory signage celebrating family milestones and other deliverables for Senator Washington's campaign activities.
Attorney General Kane noted that in 2010, in response to the criminal convictions of other Pennsylvania legislators, the senate passed Resolution 228 regarding Senate Ethics Rules for their own ethical conduct. Senator Washington was one of the measure's sponsors, yet at the same time she and her employees - at her direction and under her supervision - were allegedly violating the very criminal laws the policy was based upon.
The monetary loss to the Commonwealth is believed to range from at least $30,000 to in excess of $100,000.
Senator LeAnna Washington is charged with one count of theft of services, a felony of the third degree that carries a maximum term of seven years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000. She also is charged under the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act with one count of violation of the conflict of interest statute, a felony that carries a maximum term of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
If convicted of all counts, Senator Washington faces a maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000. Senator Washington is being allowed to turn herself in today.
The case will be prosecuted in Montgomery County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan DiGiacomo of the Criminal Prosecutions Section.
From the Attorney General's Office
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