State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell was charged Wednesday with stealing more than $500,000 from her nonprofit. She spent the money on lavish vacations, fur coats and other personal expenses, the indictment alleges. Johnson-Harrell, representing the 190th Pa. House District in West Philly, is expected to plead guilty and resign.
In any other city, this would be a rare offense. In Philadelphia, political corruption is almost seasonal. Indictment days are as regular as Halloween and Christmas.
When Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges, he put Johnson-Harrell’s arrest in a statewide context. She is public official No. 60 to have been arrested by his office since 2017, he said.
Billy Penn compiled the offenses of Shapiro’s five dozen arrestees.
Instead of some grand corruption scheme, the lists paints a picture of day-to-day malfeasance among small government bodies across the commonwealth.
Two-thirds of the 60 arrested over the past two years were police officers or other law enforcement officials, including prosecutors, probation and corrections officers. Charges against them ranged from falsifying police paperwork to soliciting prostitutes while on the job. There are also plenty of county officials who allegedly dipped into public coffers for their personal gain.