HARRISBURG - A onetime campaign aide to then-House Speaker John Perzel testified Tuesday that state-paid technology staffers, computer software, and equipment were routinely used to fuel Perzel's reelection campaigns over a decade.
In fact, Don McClintock told a Dauphin County jury, the relationship between Perzel's campaign office and members of the House Republican caucus' technology office was so cozy that it seemed as if everyone was on the same team.
"Perzel viewed technology as the future of elections," McClintock testified.
He added that it seemed like everyone "was working for the same goal."
Perzel and nine other people were originally charged in the case, known as Computergate, in which state prosecutors allege that members of the House GOP caucus used taxpayer funds to buy expensive computer programs to aid their reelection efforts. Perzel and five other defendants have pleaded guilty.
McClintock is among them, having pleaded guilty last month to one count of criminal conspiracy.
He said Tuesday that it took him years to admit to his family and to himself that he had done something wrong.
"You go through a tremendous state of denial," McClintock testified. "I finally came to the realization that I actually did this. . . . It was the hardest decision for me to make."
Three people remain at the defense table: Brian Preski, Perzel's former chief of staff; former State Rep. Brett Feese; and Feese aide Jill Seaman.
McClintock testified that Preski, in addition to being Perzel's chief of staff, worked on the once-powerful Northeast Philadelphia legislator's reelection campaigns. He said that Preski was paid by Perzel's campaign fund for election work.
On cross-examination by Preski's attorney, Bill Winning, McClintock said it was not uncommon for Preski to put in 70- or 80-hour workweeks in the Capitol.
McClintock said that Preski had "a lot of responsibility" in his government job, and that he did not believe Preski's campaign duties interfered with that work.
Under questioning by Winning, McClintock also acknowleged that he did not remember Preski's ever directing him to call House GOP caucus-paid technology staff for campaign-related work.
Testimony in the case is expected to resume Monday.