Two PA Statehouse Reporters Credited as Corruption Topples Pol


Dave Davies of WHYY in Philadelphia gives credit to a couple of obscure Pennsylvania statehouse reporters for the downfall this week of John Perzel, a former 32-year Republican legislator from Philadelphia who for years was one of the most powerful men in the state. He pleaded guilty to eight corruption charges and faces imprisonment. Davies writes, “The investigation that nailed John Perzel and a couple dozen other people of both parties began in January 2007 with a newspaper story by Charlie Thompson and Jan Murphy of the Harrisburg Patriot-News. They’d gotten a tip that a bunch of Democratic legislative aides had received hefty cash bonuses, and there were suspicions that the extra scratch was for working on political campaigns.”

He continues, “Legislative leaders stonewalled requests for information about the bonuses, and citizen activist Gene Stilp sued to find out what was going on. Other reporters got on the story, information came tumbling out, and the result was a firestorm of outrage that spread to both parties and ignited the criminal investigation that has ended some high and mighty careers in the capitol. So on the day when John Perzel pleads guilty, let’s raise a glass to reporters who grind it out every day like Thompson and Murphy, and to civic gadflies like Stilp and Tim Potts who speak truth to power and make noise doing it.”

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