Defense attorneys in the Mike Veon bonusgate trial are making much of the split verdict, which pronounced the longtime legislator from Beaver County guilty on 14 of the 59 charges against him.
Make no mistake about it. A jury of citizens, who listened to detailed testimony for a grueling seven weeks and then deliberated for 59 hours over seven days, concluded that what Mr. Veon and his associates considered to be business as usual in Harrisburg constituted criminal activity.
The jury convicted the Beaver Falls lawmaker, once the No. 2 Democrat in the state House, of seven counts of conflict of interest, five of theft and two of conspiracy. So what if prosecutors threw everything they had into the mix, which prolonged the trial and complicated the verdict? Jurors convicted Mr. Veon for his role in awarding $1.4 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to state employees for electioneering, using staffers to raise money for his political campaigns and working on behalf of other candidates, as well as the audacity of using public employees to transport his motorcycles from Utah to South Dakota for a bike rally.
The saddest thing about the conviction of Mr. Veon and two of three aides charged along with him is that, because of the culture of corruption in the state Capitol, residents of his former district and beyond greeted the verdicts with resignation rather than revulsion. Who can blame them for that attitude?
Seven other defendants associated with the House Democratic caucus already pleaded guilty in the bonus scheme. In separate incidents spun off the investigation, Rep. Bill DeWeese and two others face charges, as do 10 people tied to the House Republican caucus. Former Sen. Vincent Fumo of Philadelphia is serving a prison term for corruption, and Mr. Veon and aide Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink still face charges related to a Beaver nonprofit he founded.
Thank goodness a careful, hard-working jury saw past the "everybody's doing it" defense. The question now is, what are Pennsylvania voters going to do about it?