HARRISBURG -- It is "inconceivable" that state House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese was not aware of bonuses paid to state employees for Democratic campaign work, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said at a news conference yesterday.
In a presentment that named 12 state elected or appointed officials, the state attorney general alleged that one project the staffers were involved in was getting Mr. Nader off the 2004 presidential ballot in Pennsylvania. He was removed for having improper signatures on nominating petitions and ordered to pay more than $81,000 in legal costs, which yesterday he asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider in light of the illegal campaigning by state employees.
"Everything happened in [Mr. DeWeese's] office. He sent out missives. He knew things were being signed," Mr. Nader said this afternoon during a press conference at the Capitol. "What the Democratic Party legislators and their legislative staffs did was one of the most fraudulent and deceitful exercises ever perpetrated on Pennsylvania voters."
Mr. DeWeese was not one of the 12, but Attorney General Tom Corbett has said his investigation is ongoing, and more charges are likely.
Carl Romanelli, another candidate removed from the U.S. Senate ballot two years ago, also has asked for legal fees to be waived.
David Spett is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association.