Reform activist and PACleanSweep founder Russ Diamond today called for a statewide letter writing campaign to the Honorable Richard A. Lewis, the Dauphin County Common Pleas judge scheduled to sentence former state Representative Mike Veon on June 18 for crimes he was convicted of committing while in office.
"Every Pennsylvanian offended by corruption in Harrisburg or concerned about the Commonwealth's future should pick up a pen and voice their opinion to Judge Lewis," Diamond said. "We cannot have a repeat of what happened in the Vince Fumo case."
Fumo, a former state Senator found guilty last year on 137 counts related to public corruption, received a mere 55 months in prison for his crimes. The sentence fell far short of the 11-14 years recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter received hundreds of letters from political figures and Fumo allies, including Governor Ed Rendell, asking for leniency prior to sentencing.
"I'm sure Mike Veon already has politicos writing favorable letters praising the alleged good deeds he performed with other peoples' money. That must be counterbalanced by letters from his victims, the taxpayers and voters of Pennsylvania," added Diamond.
Last week, Diamond mailed a letter to Lewis to underscore the "far more insidious and serious implications" of Veon's crimes for Pennsylvania.
"In conspiring to illegally subvert the electoral process with public funds, Mr. Veon knowingly and deliberately undermined one of the very cornerstones of a free society. This is especially injurious to the average citizen of this Commonwealth, for whom elections stand as the only practical and direct method of objecting to certain acts of government."
Diamond's letter closed by asking Lewis to consider the impact Veon's crimes have had on public confidence and noting that a strong message may help to improve confidence in Pennsylvania's judicial system, which itself has suffered a number of blows recently.
"I urge you to sentence Mr. Veon accordingly, taking into account not just the monetary figures associated with his crimes, but also the damage he has knowingly and deliberately inflicted upon the electoral process and public confidence in the government and elected servants of this Commonwealth.
"The nature of Mr. Veon's crimes calls for a stern response from another cornerstone of a free society: Justice. Although Justice has unfortunately been tarnished in Pennsylvania by allegations of deliberate injustice in another county, my hope is that your decision will serve to repair some of that damage as well."
Diamond urged all concerned citizens to be polite and thoughtful when writing to any public servant.
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Contact Judge Lewis:
The Honorable Richard A. Lewis
Dauphin County Courthouse
101 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101