Clouds of ethical concern are forming around yet another Pennsylvania politician. According to Pittsburgh television station KDKA, State Senator Jane Orie, the Republican Majority Whip of the Senate, is on the verge of being indicted by a grand jury. The charges are based on allegations by staff that they were required to perform political activities on state time.
Their claim is they were ordered to do campaign work on behalf of Orie's sister, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and that it was taking place in Orie's Senate offices.
Does that sound familiar? Former State Rep. Mike Veon was convicted on similar charges last month. But this case has one big difference: it won't be brought by Attorney General Tom Corbett. Instead, it's District Attorney Stephen Zappala doing the prosecuting. Zappala happens to be a Democrat.
What exactly will the indictment look like? KDKA has some of the details:
Sources indicate the grand jury will present a multi-count indictment, including allegations of misuse of employees as well as misuse of funds.
Sources close to the investigation also indicate an Orie employee will also be indicted, that others have been granted immunity and they are cooperating with authorities.
The article goes on to say that there is a possibility that the DA might begin an investigation into Orie-Melvin, who was elected to the Supreme Court last year. The name Orie might be unfamiliar in this part of the state, but the family is a serious political powerhouse. If they go down, there will be major implications for the legislature.