Monday, June 14, 2010

Mericle Makes The News Again

Back on May 13, 2010 Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania et al jointly announced the filing of a criminal information pursuant to an ongoing investigation targeting public corruption in northeast Pennsylvania against Russell Arnone, former Jenkins Township Supervisor relating to the corrupt receipt of a reward for official action and failed to disclose this knowledge to federal investigators. At that time the person giving the "award" for official action was not identified. He resigned his position on May 10, 2010 before the charges were filed.

The Times Leader is reporting that Arnone plead guilty today where he admitted to taking a $5,000 cash payment from developer Robert Mericle in return for the lowering of building permit fees he accepted the money as a campaign contribution but did not report it.

Mericle faces charges in connections to payments he made to two judges in the Luzerne County Courthouse corruption scandal. U.S. officials declined comment on whether Mericle would face charges in this case. Arnone's sentencing is scheduled for September 20, 2010.

Back in 2001 a person named Russell Arnone worked for Luzerne County as director of Personnel and Budget where he authored a position paper on liberal leave for county workers. I guess he will be writing a new one on permanent leave.

So this issue begs the question regarding many campaign contributions on the campaign finance reports of elected officials. How many other elected officials were paid through campaign contributions for decisions with respect to their elected positions?

Anyone with information is asked to call the public corruption task force tip line toll free at 1-866-996-4320.

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