DHS appointee had role in Penn political scandal

AP News
Posted: Feb 03, 2014 1:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new Homeland Security secretary's choice to be his chief of staff played a key role in the downfall of a Pennsylvania state senator on corruption charges.

Christian Marrone, a former Pentagon lawyer who led that department's legislative affairs office, is among the first and most prominent new hires by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Marrone's appointment to Johnson's inner circle and the details about his ties to his father-in-law, Vince Fumo, was first reported Monday by The Washington Times and confirmed through court records by The Associated Press.

Court records showed that Marrone, who was not charged with any crime, was a prosecution witness against Fumo during Fumo's 2008 federal corruption trial. Fumo was convicted and served more than five years in federal prison.

Marrone, a lawyer who went to work for Fumo shortly after graduating from college, took the stand several years after he stopped working for Fumo.

Marrone told prosecutors that he kept records from his time working for Fumo, including emails, fearing that his boss's activities might someday lead to criminal charges. Since leaving Fumo's office, Marrone has worked at the Defense Department and in the private sector. He once was a special assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Marrone declined to comment Monday.

A Homeland Security Department spokesman, Peter Boogaard, said Marrone was well regarded at the Defense Department under former President George W. Bush and the Obama administration.

"Secretary Johnson was impressed with Mr. Marrone's integrity and management abilities, and he will be a strong addition to the management team at DHS," Boogaard said.

Johnson was previously the Pentagon's top lawyer.