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Gigliotti used campaign money to pay legal bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

By The Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- Former state Rep. Frank Gigliotti, who is in federal prison on influence-peddling charges, paid $3,000 from his political campaign fund to the law firm that handled his defense last year, according to a published report.

The 2000 campaign finance report filed by Friends of Frank Gigliotti included "legal fees" paid to the Pittsburgh law firm of Manifesto & Donahoe, whose lead partner was representing Gigliotti in the criminal case.

A $2,000 check was cut on March 6, 2000, and a $1,000 check followed on May 30, 2000, according to The Morning Call in Allentown.

In December 1999, Gigliotti, a Democrat from Brookline, was charged with soliciting bribes from contractors in exchange for his help in landing public contracts. He pleaded guilty in April 2000 and was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

Gigliotti, 58, held the22nd House District seat for a dozen years.

Although loosely worded and among the weakest in the nation, Pennsylvania law says campaign dollars must be used "for the purposes of influencing the outcome of an election."

It is unclear what legal services the money paid for, because Gigliotti's campaign treasurer said the records were mistakenly discarded when he was forced out of his home in a foreclosure action.

The Department of State's elections agency is investigating but has no enforcement powers. If officials feel charges are warranted, they could refer the case to the state attorney general's office, said spokeswoman Stephanie Rimer.

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