Under the proposed amendment, convicted Pa. officials they would have to resign

HARRISBURG – Two Philadelphia state representatives have again urged Pennsylvania to require any elected official convicted of a crime to resign from office in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s conviction last week.

Pennsylvania – and Philadelphia in particular – has long been a hotbed of corruption, with many elected officials facing criminal convictions for misusing their office. Now two Philadelphia Democrats, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Jared Solomon, say they want to change the culture in Harrisburg and believe all elected officials should be held to a higher standard during Tuesday’s news conference.

“Literally now, under state law, you can be found guilty of a crime and you don’t have to resign from office until you go through an arduous and in many cases long appeals process,” Kenyatta said. “It is very important that here in the Commonwealth we model the behavior we want to see at every level of government and that we hold ourselves to high, high standards.”

The proposal for the constitutional amendment was inspired by several former state representatives from Philadelphia who resigned over the past 10 years on bribery or corruption charges.

Solomon, who was the first Democrat to call on former Philadelphia City Council member Bobby Henon to resign after he initially refused to do so for two months following his bribery and conspiracy conviction, said Henon’s actions also motivated him. (Philadelphia already requires elected officials convicted of a crime while in office to resign from office). Trump’s 34-felony conviction for falsifying business records reignited the initiative.

“Once a conviction or charge is issued, do the components that an elected official responds to and must represent actually provide the best service?” Solomon said during Tuesday’s news conference. “The answer is clearly: ‘No.’ An elected official cannot simply deal with his own legal battles while his constituents suffer.”

Kenyatta, who will also run for state auditor general against incumbent Republican Auditor General Tim DeFoor in November, said many Pennsylvanians probably believe elected officials must resign after being convicted of a crime.

“What we are saying is that when a jury of your peers has heard all the evidence, gone through the adversarial hearing process and everything else, and rendered a verdict, particularly a criminal verdict, give me a break. Then you can’t just walk into the building and vote on laws that may particularly impact you,” Kenyatta added.

Their proposal has an unlikely future in the General Assembly. Any constitutional amendment must be passed by the House and Senate in two different legislative sessions before it can be taken up by voters. This will have no effect on Trump if he is re-elected. Solomon said it would only apply to state and local elected officials in Pennsylvania.

Solomon noted that residents of his Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood would likely be forced out of their jobs if convicted of a crime, but elected officials would not.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts