Fumo's conviction-- he was found guilty on all 137 counts-- should mark more than the end of one man's political career. It also servers as a reminder that transparency and accountability are critically important to honest government. More than ever, ordinary people need to be engaged in government to keep these kinds of abuses from happening. Fumo's conviction also strengthens our own conviction for why sites like "It's Our Money" are so important.
Fumo spent taxpayer dollars to conduct political polling, spy on his ex-girlfriend, and even clean his own house. He used false invoices and shady accounting to keep the true nature of these expenses hidden. This reinforces the need for watchdogs to keep an eye on how our money is being spent. If politicians think no one is watching, they will continue to abuse the system for their own gain.
It's important to remember that Fumo's reach extended far beyond his own Senate staff. He was a master of the state budget process and used his expertise to steer money towards political allies. Fumo's control of state finances was predicated on keeping the public in the dark. If more people understood how the system worked, it would have been impossible for Fumo to wield such tight control.
Ultimately, the solution is to stop someone like Fumo before any laws are broken. The only way for this to happen is more transparency and more public engagement. Elected officials will not be able to abuse our trust if we are watching closely. Fumo's abuses of power remind us that we all have a responsibility to be watchdogs.