Howard blasts Pileggi after Orie conviction

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State Sen. Jane Orie

EAST MARLBOROUGH — The GOP primary challenger to state Sen. Dominic Pileggi blasted the Senate Majority Leader and his fellow leaders for not calling for the resignation of state Sen. Jane Orie, who was convicted this of 14 counts related to using state employees to work on her election campaigns.

The once powerful Republican state Sen. Orie — her sister Joan Orie Melvin is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — was convicted Monday on 14 counts of theft of services, conflict of interest, and forgery. Roger Howard, the township man challenging Pileggi for the GOP nod for state Senate said he was shocked at the response of Pileggi and his colleague to the conviction.

“The multiple convictions included five felony counts,” Howard said. “

So what was the response from the Republican Leadership in the Statehouse?

“Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, in a joint statement with President Pro Tempore, Joe Scarnati, stated:  ‘Throughout her 15 years of service in the General Assembly, Senator Jane Orie has worked tirelessly on behalf of her constituents.’

“They went on to state they ‘respect’ the jury’s decision. Constituents in the 9th Pennsylvania District would probably prefer it if Sen. Pileggi would show them the respect they deserve, by demanding the immediate resignation of Ms. Orie.”

Howard said he did not understand why taxpayers should continue to pay for salary and benefits for a convicted felon — as Majority Leader, a Pileggi call for her resignation would carry great weight.

“Why should the taxpayers contribute another dollar in salary and benefits to a Senator who has been convicted of stealing, lying, and forgery?” Howard asked. “If this is the ‘tireless work’ on behalf of constituents that Sen. Pileggi is comfortable with, then he is seemingly resigned to corruption as business as usual in Harrisburg.”

While Orie is legally allowed to remain on the job while she appeals her convictions, Howard said he thinks that this is a case where the “legal” thing isn’t the “right” thing — especially after numerous elected officials, Republicans and Democrats, have been convicted of similar offenses.

“State law doesn’t require Senator Pileggi to demand Orie’s resignation,” Howard said.  “Honor and common decency does.”

By failing to call out Orie, Howard suggested that Pileggi is willing to embrace a “culture of corruption in Harrisburg” rather than embarrass a powerful and connected colleague, ignoring what is best for the commonwealth.

“As the next Senator from the 9th District,” Howard said. “I would respectfully request any colleague’s resignation if they are ever convicted of charges which so clearly defraud, defame, and demean the honor it is to represent voters in Harrisburg.”

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11 Comments

  1. Ray Farrell says:

    There is a debate scheduled between Howard/Pileggi on April 19th at 7pm hosted by the Chester County League of Woman Voters at the Kendall retirement-community on rte 1 / rte. 926.

    That is of course unless Pileggi chickens-out.

  2. David Cleary says:

    When is the PA Senate going to review law enforcements (the executive branch’s) handling of the Sandusky affair? ESPN did some scathing investigative reporting — see the link

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7770996/in-wake-joe-paterno-death-sandusky-sex-abuse-scandal-power-struggle-spread-penn-state-state-capital

    The PA Senate which happens to be led by Mr. Pileggi is not only slow but complacent about public corruption matters (i.e. Jane Orie), but they are failing to hold those leaders responsible and call them to task for their handling of the Sandusky matter. ESPN reports that the mother of victim #1 actually took her concern to the U.S. Attorney’s Office because the PA Attorney was not responding to her concern. Quote from the ESPN article — “The mother of the boy who filed the initial complaint became so impatient with the languid pace of Corbett’s inquiry that she eventually referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Harrisburg.”

    We need our senator to be someone with integrity that stand up and stop corruption, not someone who enables.

  3. David Cleary says:

    DEBATE — When are Roger Howard and Dominic Pileggi going to debate???

    If there is not a debate soon, Mr. Howard may I suggest you create a Youtube video of a debate with a rubber chicken sitting in a chair. Answer questions and explain you views just like a debate, and have the rubber chicken respond for Mr. Pileggi.

    Sometimes you have to do a chair debate when the other fella won’t show up. Debating is a central part of our elective process.

  4. Senator Orie should be stripped of her pension as a convicted felon.

  5. Vote for Roger Howard and honest government!

  6. David Cleary says:

    Protecting children is my number one issue. In the past year it has become very public that there are shortcomings in the state’s public safety organizations when it comes to reviewing and enforcing existing laws to protect our children (i.e. the Sandusky scandal). Our system of three branches of government is built on a system of checks and balances. Instead of stepping up to ensure that enforcement agencies in the executive branch are acting appropriately to citizen’s concerns, the state senate has been quiet on this matter. No hearings, reviews or discussions on the effectiveness of the state’s law enforcement team.

    A combined team of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and the Pennsylvania State Police took over three years to bring charges against Mr. Sandusky? No questions from the Senate about the effectiveness of these state agencies?

    It does not appear to be a funding issue as much as an integrity issue. If these agencies are called to action to protect the safety and well-being of children, are they going to respond appropriately and what is an appropriate response?

    I agree with Mr. Howard calling out Senator Pileggi on Senator Orie. The bubble of protection around senior state officials needs to come down. Senator Pileggi we need a state senator who has the backs of our children, not someone who has the backs of those who cannot act to enforce the laws or those who think the laws don’t apply to them.

    I think Mr. Pileggi should be offered an opportunity to respond to the concerns and accusations levied on him. The proper forum to do this is a public debate between the candidates. When will Senator Pileggi and Mr. Howard be debating?

  7. Ray Farrell says:

    Through his actions, priorities, and who he takes campaign money from, Senator Pileggi is clearly incapable of doing what is right and good.

    For Pileggi, integrity and honor take a back-seat to machine-politics in his Harrisburg favor-factory.

    This explains his milk-toast and lame reaction to Senator Orie’s convictions.

  8. Sarah Hughes says:

    An Allegheny County jury convicted state Sen. Jane Orie on Monday of 14 of the 24 corruption charges she faced, and all Pileggi does is “thank her for her good work”!!!

    Dominic Pileggi needs to require Orie to step down “immediately”….but I doubt you’ll see that…. When it comes to PA corruption, Pileggi does not separate himself! He likes our taxpayer money too much!

  9. Mark says:

    Who is Roger Howard? I always supported Senator Pileggi, but Howard really makes a concise argument here about respect.

    I am respectful of everything Senator Pileggi has done, but the country is different now. This is the old way of doing things. It may be too late for Senator Pileggi to understand how much things have changed.

    I am glad Howard put his point respectfully to the Senator and it seems like he respects the voters. And that is really the issue right now with Obama and Romney. Do they still respect the voters. It is a shame but I think Senator Pileggi even though he has served well, made a mistake on this.

  10. Bill says:

    I agree with Roger Howard. A honorable leader would ask for Senator Orie to resign immediately.

    • Tamara says:

      I agree. Why hasn’t she stepped down, and more importantly, why hasn’t her resignation been called for? I don’t think she deserves any of her salary or pension as a convicted felon.

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