Former Pa. representative faces charges

TEMP ORARY February 23, 2012 0

Former State Representative Brett Feese has been sentenced to 4 to 12 years in a state prison. He was one of the main culprits involved in the House GOP Computergate scandal and was found guilty of all 40 charges filed against him.

On Feb. 10, Feese was sentenced to prison time as well as two years of probation, $25,000 in fines and $1 million in restitution. He plans to appeal, although, according to PennLive, the evidence against him is “overwhelming,” and it will be practically impossible to get out of these convictions, especially because he was conveyed as behaving completely without remorse.

Feese, along with several other politicians, was involved with Computergate, a plot by the House Republicans to gain votes for the Republican party by diverting an estimated $10 million in “state-paid computer services and state workers to advance GOP election campaigns from 2000 to 2007,” according to PennLive.

Feese is the second person to be convicted in the scandal; the first was his former aide, Jill Seaman, who was sentenced to 9 to 23 months in the county prison work release center. The second, former Philadelphia legislator and house speaker John Perzel, pled guilty and is now awaiting his sentence.

Although neither was as high-ranking as Feese, “He was a critical component of this operation. It could not have succeeded without him,” said Frank Fina, the chief deputy attorney general who oversaw Feese’s case. His defense attorney tried to argue with the judge, Richard A. Lewis, but could not persuade him of Feese’s innocence. Lewis said that his crimes were “a clear and flagrant violation of the public trust.”

The crackdown on politicians is getting very serious in the state capitol. Feese’s case is part of a larger attorney general investigation of government corruption, in which almost 30 people have already been charged. This is opening the public’s eyes to the many wrongdoings of people in power.

Many are upset, including students here at Elizabethtown College. Jennifer Simpson, a senior political science major, had some thoughts on the issue. “I find it disheartening how immoral politicians can be. As a political science major, it makes me truly question the field I am attempting to enter.”

Since Feese was convicted for the crimes of hiring out-of-state consultants with public money, many are not willing to take his side. However, these days many people are not shocked by what politicians do. It is becoming normal for there to be political scandal in the news. “I believe actions such as those Feese is alleged to have made are what have caused our generation to become so cynical when it comes to the political world, which is a true shame,” Simpson said.

Although Feese has been convicted and it is not looking good for a chance at an appeal, the effects of the Computergate scandal are still ongoing. There are many more trials that will be in the news in the upcoming year, and if Feese’s verdict is any indicator, the sentences and punishments will be very severe.

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