Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane Wednesday announced criminal charges against state Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia).
Washington is charged with one count of theft of services and one count of violation of the conflict of interest statute. The two felonies together carry a maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.
“The evidence will show that Senator Washington pressured her staff into performing political activities using taxpayer dollars for her own personal benefit,” Kane said in a press release.
Washington allegedly used intimidation and verbal harassment to pressure staff into planning a political fundraiser and birthday party for her in late July. In addition to using staff time for political activities, the charges state that the senator illegally used resources provided by the Senate Graphic Design Department. She also is accused of cutting the salary and terminating the employment of staff who disagreed with the activities.
In 2010, Washington was one of the sponsors for Resolution 228, which strengthened Senate ethics rules against such use of Senate staff and resources.
Washington’s activities are believed to have cost the commonwealth at least $30,000 to in excess of $100,000, according to Kane's office.
An aide in Washington's office said the senator had no comment at this time.
The 68-year old Washington has represented parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties since 2005. She served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005.
The charges come a little more than a month after ex-Senator Jane Orie from Pittsburgh's North Hills was released from prison after serving just under two years for similar crimes.