Lawmaker Steps Down

PUBLISHED: 1:00 PM 6 Dec 2019
UPDATED: 9:54 PM 6 Dec 2019

Muslim Lawmaker Charged After Allegedly Stealing $500,000 From Charity

At first, she indicated that she would plead guilty, but later, disputed some of the charges and claimed she intended to “accept responsibility.”

She is now disputing the charges, but will still step down from the House. (Source: YouTube Screenshot CAIR)

The first Muslim lawmaker elected to the Pennsylvania House has been charged with a host of allegations relating to a massive $500,000 theft of charity funds.

Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D) allegedly spent more than $500,000 from the charity she founded, Motivations Education and Consultation Associates, on personal expenses, including vacations, designer clothing, luxury car payments, real estate purchases and past-due mortgage payments, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The Wednesday announcement was stunning because it includes diverting federal funds given to the charity, which was supposed to go for the assistance of people with chronic mental illness, intellectual disabilities and substance abuse disorders.

The Hill reported:

The charges include theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, perjury, tampering with public records and reporting by candidates and political committees.

“When corruption erodes the trust that is built between governmental entities and citizens, no one wins,” Shapiro said in the release. “I’ve said time and time again as Attorney General that no one is above the law, no matter their position of power. And today is no different.”

Shapiro said Johnson-Harrell turned herself in Wednesday morning and plans to plead guilty. He said the Democrat has agreed to resign from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives effective Dec. 13.

Johnson-Harrell released a statement to The Associated Press through her lawyers, in which she denied some of the allegations.

“I am saddened and dismayed by the nature of the allegations brought against me today,” she said. “I vigorously dispute many of these allegations, which generally pertain to before I took office and I intend to accept responsibility for any actions that were inappropriate.”

Watch the local coverage below: