The federal criminal indictment of a powerful Pennsylvania State Senator focuses heavily on the operations of a 501(c)(3) community betterment organization founded by the Senator’s employees and allegedly run for his personal benefit.
It alleges conduct, such as using the organization’s credit card to buy tools and equipment for his personal houses, which has traditionally deemed to be criminal. It also alleges improper actions that have more traditionally been handled as civil matters, not criminal. (U.S. V. Fumo, E.D. PA, Crim. No. 06-319, 2/6/07.)
The indictment focuses on activities of the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, originally founded in 1991 as the First District Environmental Defense Fund, a reference to the Senator’s senatorial district number. It amended its articles of incorporation in 1994 to become the Citizens Alliance. Its purpose is “to promote public health, housing, safety and education in the City and County of Philadelphia,” a geographically limited purpose that becomes important in the indictment.