Pennsylvania House Democrat Resigns After Being Charged With Theft

Pennsylvania House Democrat Resigns After Being Charged With
Theft 1

A Democratic Pennsylvania lawmaker says she has resigned after being charged on July 22 with theft and other offenses related to expense reimbursements she received between 2015 and 2019.

Delaware County state Rep. Margo Davidson, 58, was charged with theft by deception, hindering apprehension or prosecution, and three counts of election law violations involving false campaign finance reports and campaign spending. She was released on her own recognizance.

“Today, I sadly announce my resignation and take legal responsibility for improper record-keeping and reimbursement of expenses,” Davidson said in a statement, released through her attorney, Geoffrey Johnson.

“I further take responsibility for and regret not fully participating with the investigation,” she said, noting that she is paying $6,900 in restitution.

The attorney general says Davidson asked for reimbursement for overnight hotel expenses for nights she did not spend in the Harrisburg area.

“On some occasions, Davidson’s non-stays in Harrisburg were also proven by turnpike receipts Davidson routinely submitted for reimbursement to the Comptroller’s Office,” court papers state.

The lawmaker also filed two dozen fraudulent expense claims with the House of Representatives including for parking, tolls, and gas that had already been paid for by her campaign money, according to her charging affidavit.

“Those taxpayer-funded comptroller payments went directly into Davidson’s pocket for ‘expenses’ that she did not incur,” investigators wrote.

“These fraudulent reimbursements personally enriched Davidson via direct deposit payments into Davidson’s account by the [House] Comptroller’s office,” court documents state.

Davidson is also accused of asking an unnamed witness to lie to investigators about trips to Virginia, and therefore hindering a state prosecution.

“The witness was shocked and incredibly upset after Davidson had solicited her to lie to investigators,” the probable cause affidavit filed with her charging documents Thursday said.

Between 2015 and 2019, Davidson’s campaign bank records and campaign finance reports found more than $8,000 in expenditures from the campaign fund that were either falsely reported or not disclosed, prosecutors said.

Upper Darby resident Davidson was first elected in 2010 and has recently served as the ranking Democrat on the State Government Committee. She played an active role in a series of hearings on elections issues run by the Republican majority this winter and spring.

A spokesperson for the House speaker’s office said Thursday it has not received a resignation letter from Davidson.

She has a formal arraignment set for Sept. 10.

“State Representatives swear an oath to use their office for public service—not fraudulent personal gain,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. “We will uphold the laws of the Commonwealth without bias, and we will continue to uncover corruption wherever it is found.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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