Posted Feb 24, 2012 12:12 am CST
A witness in the latest political corruption trial of a former Pennsylvania state representative testified today that his law firm got a $132,000 no-bid contract, representing about $4,000 per month in retainer payments, for perhaps eight hours per month in legal work.
Former Democratic state Rep. Mike Veon, 55, is already serving time after a conviction in another case, which concerned the use of legislative funds for staff political work. He is currently on trial in Dauphin County on charges that he obtained state grant money and funneled it through a nonprofit he controlled to reward political allies, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review.
The nonprofit, which was based in distant Beaver County, made the retainer payments to the Harrisburg law firm of a longtime Veon staffer, Jeffrey Foreman. He earlier pleaded guilty to charges of using public resources for campaigns and is on probation after serving time at the Dauphin County jail.
Foreman testified against his former boss today, saying that he wondered why it made sense for a Beaver County entity to seek legal representation in Harrisburg. Veon told him he was getting the work “because I was a team player,” Foreman said.
Veon defense lawyer Dan Raynak contends that the money was properly used.
Lawmakers in at least two other states have also recently faced trial in cases involving similar allegations of purported law firm retainer fees being used for illicit purposes: