On May 10, Pennsylvania State Senator Larry Farnese was charged with paying bribes in his 2011 election bid to become the Democratic leader of Philadelphia’s Eighth Ward.  The government alleges that Mr. Farnese, through his senate campaign committee, paid $6,000 to Bard College to fund the studies abroad of a Democratic Committee member’s daughter in exchange for a vote in the upcoming election.  On May 11, Mr. Farnese’s lawyer asserted Farnese’s innocence of the charge, explaining that the payment was a legitimate donation to a deserving student’s scholarship fund, and cautioning the government against prosecuting the performance of regular and appropriate parts of community political leadership.  Both Mr. Farnese and the Democratic Committee member, Ellen Chapman, have been charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, and violations of the Travel Act.  United States v. Chapman, 16-cr-00199 (E.D.Pa.).  DOJ Press Release