Legal fees double taxpayers’ cost in bonus scandal

Tribune Review story highlights the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on legal fees – the bulk by House Democrats – in response to the bonusgate investigation.

Taxpayers picked up the nearly $2 million tab the House Democratic Caucus paid private lawyers during the past 18 months, state records show. …

It’s not uncommon for state employees and elected officials to received taxpayer-funded legal aid for costs arising from questions associated with official duties. Typically, that support ends when an employee or official is charged criminally.

For example, state Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, billed taxpayers more than $1 million for
attorneys’ fees between 2003 and 2006 while federal authorities investigated him. His tax-funded legal aid ended in February 2007 when a federal grand jury issued a 139-count public corruption indictment against him. He is scheduled to go to trial in September.

Official duties? This isn’t a lawsuit alleging a law was passed unconstitutionally – such as the Pay Raise (Stilp v. Jubelirer, Perzel, et. al. and other suits) or the Gambling Law (Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion, et. al., v. Rendell, Jubelirer, Perzel, et. al.) – but a criminal case alleging theft, as is the Fumo case.

Is theft an official duty of lawmakers? That is, theft they haven’t made legal.

And this time, Bill DeWeese can’t claim “I know nussing