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PA Bill Number: SR377

Title: A Concurrent Resolution calling for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States via a Convention of the States, pursuant to Article V of ...

Description: A Concurrent Resolution calling for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States via a Convention of the States, pursuant to Article V of ...

Last Action: Referred to STATE GOVERNMENT

Last Action Date: Sep 17, 2020

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Pennsylvania state senator charged with ward election plot :: 05/10/2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused a state senator of using campaign money to bribe a Democratic Party ward committeewoman in Philadelphia by paying for her daughter's college study abroad program.

Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, was charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and violations of the Travel Act, prosecutors said. Farnese secured support from the committeewoman for his successful candidacy in Philadelphia's eighth ward leadership election by paying $6,000 toward the study program, they said.

The committeewoman, Ellen Chapman, was charged with the same crimes. 

In a statement from Washington, the Department of Justice said the pair was involved "in a bribery and fraud scheme."

Farnese's lawyer Mark Sheppard said Farnese is "100 percent innocent" of the charges and that Farnese is accused of making a contribution "to a deserving young student's scholarship fund in exchange for the support of the student's mother in a party ward election.

Farnese performed "a regular and appropriate part of being a community and political leader that the government would now like to be declared illegal," Sheppard said.

Criminalizing such circumstances is dangerous, Sheppard said, accusing prosecutors of extending their reach "well beyond accepted constitutional grounds and into areas of purely local party organizational politics."

The indictment said Farnese worked with an unidentified person to carry out the alleged scheme.

Farnese, 47, was first elected to the state Senate in 2008.

Chapman, 62, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, and did not appear to have a listed telephone number. Chapman's lawyer, Stuart Patchen, declined comment, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Chapman had originally intended to support a different candidate in the ward leader election, prosecutors said. Farnese made the $6,000 payment using campaign funds and, according to federal prosecutors, "disguised the true purpose of the payment by falsely listing it as a `donation' on the campaign's finance report."

Farnese's political action committee, Friends of Farnese, reported a $6,000 payment to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, on July 8, 2011. The ward election was in December of that year.

Sheppard said the donation was properly reported and Chapman did not participate in the ward election. No other committee person has claimed to have been offered anything of value by Farnese, Sheppard said.

http://www.fox29.com/news/139674720-story