Saturday, December 27, 2014

US Attorney Laurie Magid's statement

The guilty verdict in this case is a victory for good government and for the people of Pennsylvania.

US Attorney Laurie Magid's statement

The full text of the comments of US Attorney Laurie Magid:

The guilty verdict in this case is a victory for good government and for the people of Pennsylvania.

A jury has spoken.

Justice has been served.

Vincent Fumo, a once powerful politician, will now face the consequences of spending other people’s money, taxpayers’ money, our money, to provide himself with the extraordinarily lavish lifestyle that he felt he was entitled to.

This is not, however, a time for rejoicing.

It should be a time for reflection, by those who have pledged to serve us.

Public officials must remember that public service is a privilege and an honor, not an opportunity for personal bias and gain.

Public officials must remember the arrogant rationalizations that juries in this case and others have emphatically rejected.

“I am worth it” is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis, for spending at least ninety thousand dollars of charity money on tools and appliances, including almost seven thousand dollars just on high-end vacuum cleaners for your four homes.

“Everyone is doing this” is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis, for taking the Seaport Museum’s luxury yacht for a cruise without paying for it, or giving no-work contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to your friends.

Moreover, Vince Fumo was wrong - everyone is not doing it.

There are legions of government workers who are both hard-working and honest.

“But I have worked so hard,” even if it were true, is not a defense, is not an excuse, is not a basis for spending, to borrow the Senator’s term, OPM - “other people’s money,” to pay for people to oversee the renovation of your 33-room mansion, to clean that mansion, to paint your home - and your girlfriend’s home - with hundred dollar a gallon paint, to follow your ex-girlfriend, spy on her, and try to get her arrested.

Hard work never, never, balances the scales against such abuse.

Vincent Fumo used his vast power to build an empire of senate employees, government paid contractors, and non-profit charity workers, to serve as personal servants and political operatives, to satisfy his many and utterly extravagant wants and needs, personal and political.

His actions claimed real victims – the State Senate, a chaity, a museum, the government, and most important, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Vince Fumo did not just cross the line that divides proper and improper conduct.

He completely ignored the line, as if it could not be seen, as if it had been painted over.

And when Vince Fumo found himself so far on the wrong side of those lines that he felt there was no turning back, he did everything possible to erase the trail that led us to him.

When Thomas Jefferson left public service, he said:

“I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.”

Jefferson understood that public service is a serious commitment.

It calls on us to recognize that there is someone other than ourselves for whom we are working, that there is a cause beyond our own comfort that we are preserving.

The government and the people of Pennsylvania have prevailed in this case, due in no small part to several individuals, including:

FBI agents Kathy MacAfee and Vicki Humphries, who worked for years, often day and night; wonderful prosecutors, John Pease and Bob Zauzmer, who are dedicated to serving the cause of justice, and a former U. S. Attorney, Pat Meehan, who dedicated the resources necessary to find the truth.

And, we were fortunate, of course, to have a group of dedicated, thoughtful jurors who sacrificed a great deal in the interest of justice.

Corruption cases are not easy to bring, but we have an obligation to bring them.

When we know there is wrongdoing, it is our duty to pursue it, regardless of the obstacles we encounter.

There should never be another Fumo World, a world in which millions of dollars of taxpayer and charity money went to enrich and feed one man’s gluttony.

The public is weary of officials playing by their own rules and ignoring lines.

We hope that our investigation and prosecution, and the jury’s verdict of guilty, has served to restore some of the public’s confidence in the integrity of our system of government.

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