The Lead

Pa. House lawmaker facing misdemeanor theft charges, to resign immediately

By: - July 22, 2021 2:26 pm

State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Philadelphia, speaks during a Capitol news conference on bills fighting workplace discrimination and harassment (Capital-Star photo).

(*This story was updated at 3:45 on Thursday, 7/22/2021, to include comment from House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton.)

A Democratic state lawmaker from suburban Philadelphia is facing misdemeanor charges of theft for allegedly misusing campaign funds.

Rep. Margo Davidson, of Delaware County, is accused of filing fraudulent reimbursement requests, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday. A grand jury found that Davidson, 58, requested overnight expenses for nights she did not spend in Harrisburg, and received personal reimbursements from the state for expenses that were paid for by her campaign.

“State representatives swear an oath to use their office for public service — not fraudulent personal gain,” 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.”

First reported by PennLive, Davidson will resign. Her term is set to expire in 2022.

Shapiro added that Davidson is accused of hindering a state prosecution by soliciting a witness to lie during the investigation. She is also accused of violating the Pennsylvania Election Code for failing to report campaign finance information.

Each fraudulent claim resulted in a personal profit for Davidson, the attorney general’s office said.

Davidson waived her preliminary hearing and paid $6,925 in restitution.

*In a statement, House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, said she was “saddened” by the charges and recognized Davidson’s decision to accept responsibility for her actions.

“This ensures the important work she led in the House State Government Committee can continue without interruption or distraction, and the people’s right to vote can be defended against all attacks,” McClinton said.

A search for a new Democratic chairperson is already underway, she said.

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