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Innovation

Pa. Senate IT staffers busted for cover-up

Democratic staffers deleted emails and files from Blackberries, Senate computers to hide alleged corruption trail of state senator.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor on
The FBI arrested two IT workers at the Pennsylvania State Senate for erasing email messages and other data for the computers and PDAs of a state senator - apparently Sen. Vince Fum - under investigation for corruption, Federal Computer Week reports.

Fumo was being investigated in 2004 for alleged corruption for demanding corporations wishing to do business in Philadelphia make contributions to the nonprofit Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, with which he is closely allied, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.

Leonard Luchko and Mark Eister were employees of Senate Democratic Computer Services (SDCS), a Pennsylvania State Senate organization that provides computer assistance to Democratic members of the Senate.

The FBI complaint and affidavit state that when Luchko and Eister learned the senator to whom they were assigned was the subject of a federal investigation, they intentionally destroyed all e-mail messages concerning the senator and another organization so that investigators could not recover them.

The FBI’s affidavit alleges that once the federal investigation became known to the senator and his staff in 2003, Luchko, Eister and others tried to delete and destroy all traces of e-mail messages sent or received by the senator. They also tried to delete all e-mail messages and documents of the alliance that might be relevant to the investigation.

When the Philadelphia Inquirer article appeared, the FBI said Luchko sent an e-mail message to members of the senator’s staff saying, “The FBI probe into the senator has really set him off and he wants us to do a number of security checks starting tomorrow…. He wants all of the BlackBerries wiped, and [another computer aide] and I have to bring in all laptops and do DOD wipes on them.”

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