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BREAKING: Farnese Indicted on Thirteen Charges

FarneseState Senator Larry Farnese has been indicted on thirteen charges.

Farnese allegedly spent $6,000 of campaign funds so that Philadelphia Committeewoman Ellen Chapman’s daughter could attend a study abroad program. In exchange, Chapman supported Farnese’s bid to become Ward Leader of Philadelphia’s Eighth District.

The story was first reported by Holly Otterbein of Citified.

You can read the full twelve page indictment here.

Mark Sheppard, Farnese’s attorney, issued the following statement:

“Larry Farnese is 100 percent innocent of these novel charges and expects to be fully exonerated. There is no allegation that Senator Farnese misused his office or government funds nor that he accepted any gift or kickback. These charges have no connection whatsoever to his Senatorial office.

Rather, the Senator stands accused of making a contribution from his campaign account to a deserving young student’s scholarship fund in exchange for the support of the student’s mother in a party ward election. The government makes these charges despite the fact that the donation was properly reported almost five years ago; was given some five (5) months before a unanimous ward vote in which the Committeewoman did not even participate; and no other committee person has claimed to have been offered anything of value by Senator Farnese.

The application of federal law to circumstances such as these are not only novel (and what we believe to be the first of its kind), it is also dangerous. The government seeks to extend the reach of prosecutors well beyond accepted constitutional grounds and into areas of purely local party organizational politics.

In an oral argument last month, the Supreme Court questioned prosecutors’ attempts to criminalize well accepted political activity. As the Justices noted, politics in the real world is based on relationships, and public officials routinely advocate and provide support for constituents. That is all Senator Farnese is accused of here — performing a regular and appropriate part of being a community and political leader that the government would now like to be declared illegal.

For those reasons, we expect Senator Farnese’s complete exoneration.”

Farnese has represented the 1st district since 2009. The district consists of Southwestern Philadelphia.

30 Responses

  1. Thank you for every one of your hard work on this web site. My mother delights in setting aside time for investigation and it is obvious why. My partner and i learn all relating to the dynamic way you give both useful and interesting ideas on the web site and recommend participation from visitors on this point and our favorite simple princess is truly studying a whole lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You are doing a wonderful job.

  2. Unsanctioned R2 says:
    May 12, 2016 at 9:36 am
    Diano , I noticed what you wrote about having a IP address and the fact that you reported it to a Government Agency. Clearly, you have no information that would tie this person to your frivolous allegation. Since this person has been a champion of the rights of mentally handicapped children and you have spent your time ridiculing them in many ways under many names I thought it only right to explore a complaint against you with the EEOC. Here’s the applicable section.
    Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
    This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.
    You retaliated by your complaint against a person who complained about discrimination. Employment is not an issue in this section just the statement is enough.
    Dicki that’s you. Remember all those R words statements made by you. They were captured along with a program that captures IP addresses (which come back to you) well. Diano mommy is gonna be mad at you. Maybe Philly Lawyer can help unless he’s being investigated for practicing law without a license.
    You be well DIANO Oh this whole thing came from one of those meetings you claim we never had.Maybe we’ll read about you soon.

  3. Interested Observer-

    Interesting theory. But, more likely it was quid-pro-quo for working the committee people to ensure them voting for him as Ward Leader.

    The content of the emails and the involvement of “Person A” indicate that it was probably not romantic.

  4. HaHaHa aka Brett Cott aka jailbird. Here’s a story when you were arrested. Are you gonna pay the seniors back the money you stole.

    Unsanctioned R2 says:
    May 11, 2016 at 4:18 pm
    Hey HaAHA aka Brett look you made the news when Fina arrested and convicted you. It’s nice to know that public sources still have this information. You gonna pay back any of the money you stole.
    Brett Cott
    HARRISBURG –Bonusgate defendent Brett Cott received a sentence of 21 to 60 months on three charges this morning.
    He also received three fines totaling $11,000 and was told to make restitution to the state of $50,000. The sentence was imposed by Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis, who rejected Mr. Cott’s defense attorny’s plea for probation. Mr. Cott was found guilty on three charges: conflict of interest, theft of services, and conspiracy.
    The office of state Attorney General Tom Corbett had argued for a stiff sentence, claiming Mr. Cott had seriously misused taxpayer dollars in running as many as 20 political campaigns in Western Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2006.
    Mr. Cott’s attorney, Bryan Walk, had claimed that the prosecution was political and said that Mr. Cott was aqcuitted on 39 of 42 charges brought against him. However Judge Lewis said that Mr. Cott’s offenses were serious and deserved time in state prison.
    Read the sentencing memo for Brett Cott.
    The judge said Mr. Cott spent most of his time that was paid for on taxpayer dollars “orchestrating and mastermining political activity.” The judge said “public money was used like monopoly money to run campaigns. Some potential candidates were scared off by this taxpayer funded juggernaut. The public was also victimized.”
    He said probation was not an option because that “would demean the seriousness of the crimes.”
    Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington said that Mr. Cott was paid salary of $223,000 plus bonuses of over $39,000 from 2004 to 2006 for basically running political campaigns. Mr. Cott is the first of the Bonusgate defendents to be sentenced.
    Reactions to the sentence from prosecutors and the defense differed markedly.
    The stiff sentence “sends a loud and clear message that this kind of activity [illegal use of taxpayers funds for political campaigns] will not be tolerated, and people will pay for their crimes,” said Deputy Attorney General E. Marc Costanzo.
    In a brief submitted to the judge, the state contended that Mr. Cott’s “demeanor” wasn’t appropriate, meaning he hadn’t shown “contrition or remorse” for his illegal actions. He said Mr. Cott’s ongoing defiant attitude and lack of remorse were “appropriate legal factors” to be considered during the sentencing.
    Lawyer Walk, however, said he was shocked and “extremely disappointed” by the severity of the sentence, which could keep Mr. Cott in state prison for up to five years.
    “There are drug dealers and violent offenders who don’t get that much time,” he said. “We didn’t expect this.”
    He said that since Mr. Cott had no previous arrests or convictions, and since the jury had found him not guilty on 39 of the 42 charges that the state brought against him, he should have gotten probation and no jail time.
    Mr. Walk said the judge’s sentencing decision seemed to have been already prepared, even before this morning’s hearing, where the defense attorney spent almost an hour saying what a hard worker and good person Mr. Cott is.
    Mr. Walk said that if two of the original Bonusgate defendants, former House Democratic staffers Mike Manzo and Jeff Foreman — who made a deal to cooperate with the state and testified against Mr. Cott, “don’t get sentences that are more than Mr. Cott’s, then justice is dead.”

  5. Is it possible that Farnese is romantically involved with Chapman and that’s why he was so generous to her daughter?

  6. I’ve been told Waxman has already said he isn’t interested. He wants to run for the 182nd again in two years. Meanwhile, Sims has been burning up the phone lines trying to make a move. He’s tight w/ Local 98 (see campaign finance reports) and thinks Doc can deliver the seat to him in a special election when/if Farnese were to resign. Should be verrrry interesting.

  7. Joe Massa…Godfather Zappala’s appointed stooge on the conduct board, there to clean up messes, like cash for kids. He’s gone now thanks to the fresh air(except Doc) that is coming into the Pa. Supreme Court but he took a lot of secrets with him that the kids for cash whitewash committee refused to investigate. A return interview by a serious fed might help him refresh his recollections since the Rico criminal statutes are 20 years and I hear that Chiv is ready to crack.u

  8. Is “Spambot correct “below. Did the FBI really just squander a bunch of our taxpayer dollars by giving it to campaigns of people they are not investigating/prosecuting?

    Fattah is being prosecuted by the FBI. Fattah was just defeated by Evans. Evans was given thousands of dollars by the FBI. How is this OK?

  9. How many loyal supporters got $6,000 for personal use and disguised it as a charitable donation? Is this common practice? I thought campaign funds were to be used for political purposes not private, personal purposes of specially favored supporters. What did other loyal supporters get paid?

    This is straight out vote buying. What other explanation is there for giving $6,000 to a political crony?

  10. Whether there are grounds for this indictment or not, I find it disturbing that politicians take campaign funds from their contributors and give it to “charitable causes” instead of making their own personal donations. They’re goal is to promote themselves to the public demonstrating how “charitable” they are in order to promote their re-election and doing so without any financial obligation on their part.

    I support causes in my community by donating directly to the charities without giving my money to a politician to do it for me.

  11. The ward vote was unanimous. It doesn’t even make sense that would he buy ONE vote. There are pols out here stuffing their pockets and this is what the feds are wasting time and taxpayer money on?

  12. I’m reading the article…does anyone know if this guy is a republican or a democrat?

  13. Shepard is a highly skilled white collar lawyer, and the charges really are unprecedented.

    Will earn a full acquittal.

  14. Spambot: Who is the judicial conduct board mobster? Do you mean the chief legal counsel?

  15. Interesting note:

    A few months ago, Larry was at the Philly for Change Meetup, seeking their endorsement. After a typically self-serving speech about how wonderful he was, I got to ask a question.
    My question was: “Is it a conflict of interest for an elected official to also be a Ward leader?” The Ward leader certainly does have a lot of influence over the committee endorsements, and is in charge of the walking around money and paying committee people for election activities.

    Larry’s response (which is even more ironic now) was basically: “It’s not a conflict when you have someone as ethical as me.”

    garet jax-

    I thought it was $6k not $4K.

    But, the FBI might be working their way up and starting with the small fish first before they get to Seth.

    Sounds like “Person A” rolled over on Larry and Ellen.

  16. So Farnese gets indicted for giving s deserving student $4k from his PAC fund but Seth Eilliams yearly donates $100k per year from his PAC fund to the Union League for his date nights and gym fees and he is still free? What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe his buddy Zane Memeger is protecting him.

  17. Sorry… hit the post button by accident..

    Does ANYBODY know who “Person A” is?

    How many “political consultants” were working for Larry at the time? Can’t be a big list.

  18. Shadow-

    I expect Sims and Waxman to both try for the seat.

    Does ANYBODY

  19. No doubt there are many other possible candidates in the wings for that seat–not just Sims.

  20. I would think Brian got a wake up call on primary Election Day a couple weeks ago, when more than 60% of the voters in his district cast their ballots for someone other than him for state rep. His district doesn’t like him, that’s pretty clear. Brian can only squeak out a win in an election if its a crowded field, or low turnout like when he ousted Babette that dinosaur. If the party gets to appoint an interim state senator, Brian’s out of luck there because the party doesn’t like him. A couple wards in his district endorsed waxman for state rep. Maybe waxman should try to get the senate seat, if Farnese ends up going because of this.

  21. See, super secret special prosecutor Alan Kennedy Shaffer is already taking down the bad guys.

  22. Theft of honest services doesn’t apply to party offices so the Feds can put this one back into their own kiester. They are struggling to overcome the misuse of taxpayer dollars on a frat boy scheme to clean up Harrisburg that is now embarrassing them. If they need work, they should revisit cash for kids. There was a lot, almost everything, left on the table and the white wash committee only created more questions. When the mobbed up mouthpiece for the judicial conduct board threatened to take the fifth and then was given a pass, something besides Vince Fumo stinks in South Philly.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
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    • Makes No Difference (30%)

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