Working with the state government can be lucrative business for all different types of industries. When roads need to be built, the government will ordinarily have to hire a construction firm. Even in the office environment, governments will often rely on outside professionals to do important public work.
Because the business is so competitive, public officials who are in charge of handing out these contracts may find themselves being accused of cutting corners in order to favor the business of a family member, friend or a big political contributor.
There are special laws in Pennsylvania that limit what public officials, and all government employees, can do and not do with respect to government contracts. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that the general public can be confident that the government is being run fairly and impartially, without regard to who is related to whom or how much money a business has given to a politician.
For example, these laws prohibit a public official from engaging in behavior that would clearly pit their own personal or financial interests against those of the public whom they are supposed to be serving. Additionally, the taking or giving of bribes or other grease payments in order to, for example, get a leg up on securing a government contract is prohibited.
Especially in the contentious world of today's politics, an official can easily be accused of violating this law or other wrongdoing when in fact they may simply have been careless, violated a boundary or, in some cases, simply have legally been trying to survive in a messy and oftentimes complicated web that is modern politics.
In these sorts of circumstances, a public official or employee will have to mount an effective defense in order to avoid a felony conviction and other serious consequences.