Convicted in Bonusgate scandal, former state lawmaker gets pension restored

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 6, 2017 3:09 AM

FILE PHOTO: In this June 26, 2007 file photo, then Sen. Robert Mellow, D-Lackawanna, addresses the Senate floor at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Harrisburg) -- A former state lawmaker who served prison time for corruption has won his appeal to get his $20,000-a-month pension restored.

The State Employees' Retirement System board has voted 6-5 to return former Democratic state Senator Robert Mellow's pension.

Mellow, a former Senate President Pro Tempore, lost the retirement benefit when he pleaded guilty in May 2012 to allegations that he used taxpayer-funded staff to work on political campaigns -- better known as the Bonusgate scandal.

After serving for 40 years, the Scranton-area legislator was entitled to $246,000 a year.

His lawyers argued his crime didn't compare to the state crimes listed under the pension forfeiture law.

A board spokeswoman says they struggled with the decision. All 11 members declined comment or were unable to be reached.

Mellow's lawyer says he is "pleased that the law was followed."

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