Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced criminal charges against Senator Leanna Washington (D-Montgomery).
A grand jury found just cause to charge Washington with one count of theft of services, a felony of the third degree that carries a maximum term of seven years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000. She also is charged under the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act with one count of violation of the conflict of interest statute, a felony that carries a maximum term of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The AG’s office alleges that Washington intimidated her staff into performing campaign related duties during state-paid time, particularly on a birthday fundraiser for the Senator that commanded hours of the staff’s time in the months leading up to it.
The monetary loss to the Commonwealth for this staff time is believed to range from at least $30,000 to in excess of $100,000.
“The evidence will show that Senator Washington pressured her staff into performing political activities using taxpayer dollars for her own personal benefit,” said Attorney General Kane.
If convicted of all counts, Washington faces a maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000. Washington is being allowed to turn herself in today.
She has represented the 4th Senatorial District since 2005. She’s up for reelection this year, and two Democrats were lined up to face her in the primary.
A press release from the Attorney General’s office reminds us that, “A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”