Sunday, December 28, 2014

What? A PA lawmaker charged with corruption?

Charges against Philly state Rep. Miranda might just be a case of one man's effort to maintain tradition.

What? A PA lawmaker charged with corruption?

State Rep. J.P. Miranda, 28, and his sister, Michelle Wilson, were each charged with conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy, said District Attorney Seth Williams.<br />
State Rep. J.P. Miranda, 28, and his sister, Michelle Wilson, were each charged with conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy, said District Attorney Seth Williams.

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE)

BE: Hey, how bout those charges filed against freshman Philly Democratic Rep. J.P. Miranda?

JB: Hope they read him his, wait for it...MIRANDA rights.

BE: Cheap, very cheap.

JB: Yeah, but apparently he wasn't. Charges say while collecting his $84,000 legislative salary he generously funneled another public salary to his sister through a ghost-employee who worked in an auto repair shop.

BE: Allegedly.

JB: Right, which means he would have been entitled to more public money to build a defense from the time last spring his scheme was outed in a FOX29 TV report that got investigators interested.

BE: Wait. What?

JB: Sure. Lawmakers under investigation can spend taxpayer money for their own protection, you know, like the $14 million taxpayers spent defending lawmakers during corruption probes between 2007 and 2012.

BE: But once charged...

JB: The gravy train stops. Of course, Miranda can still stay in office and collect his salary until or unless convicted.

BE: A great system.

JB: It's tradition. All Miranda did (allegedly) is continue a time-honored practice of our Legislature. In fact, it's been a couple years since our noble electeds have been in the news on corruption charges.

BE: Well, I guess it's nice to keep traditions alive.

JB: For prosecutors, too. Hope you noticed that the local anticorruption team includes former state prosecutors, E. Marc Costanzo and Frank Fina. They won 23 bipartisan corruption convictions after legislative probes.

BE: So everybody's back doing what they do best?

JB: Or worst. Tradiition!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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