"What's black and white and read all over?"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Posted 5:55 PM by

Aloha Habay

So long baby face. Jeff Habay is to report to a half-way house within 30 days for having his staff stuff campaign envelopes on state time. Ironically, he got the mailing list from PennDOT, but was never charged with misusing that information.State Rep. Jeff Habay on Wednesday resigned from the Legislature and was sentenced to six months to one year in a halfway house for making his staff do campaign work on state time.

Habay, 39, apologized in court Wednesday for claiming his conviction was the result of a political witch hunt. But Judge Jeffrey Manning called Habay's claims that he was targeted because of politics "an egregious lack of remorse."

The six-term Republican lawmaker from Allegheny County was convicted Dec. 12 on a charge of conflict of interest.

Habay had his staff stuff envelopes for his re-election campaign when they were supposed to be doing work for constituents on state time. Ironically, he got the mailing list from the state Department of Transportation, but was never charged with misusing that information.

There was little to no mention of the common Harrisburg practice of having legislative staffers man House and Senate campaign committees after their public hours are done. In the course of their day jobs, though, staffers have access to all kinds of sensitive information about constituents - not just PennDOT records - which can also be used for "opponent research," what President Richard Nixon used to call rat fucking.

"He wrote the (the state ethics) law, he violated the law and was convicted of it," Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek said. "You'd think at some point in time he'd realize that. He still doesn't realize it."

Here's the really funny part. Despite his conviction and sentence, Habay will remain eligible for a state pension because conflict of interest is not an offense under the forfeiture section of the state law governing state employees

A second trial for Habay, on charges he intimidated witnesses and made a false anthrax report to police, is scheduled to begin Monday.


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