A commissioner of Pennsylvania’s third-largest county was arrested Tuesday on perjury charges surrounding an investigation into campaign contributions and contracts.
James R. Matthews, a Republican, is brother of liberal MSNBC host of Chris Matthews. He is in his 12th year as a Montgomery County Commissioner.
The grand jury found that Matthews lied about how county employees were instructed to use only Certified Abstract, a company that had ties to Matthews family-owned mortgage firm Keegan Morgan, for certain contracts, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Matthews lied with such ease and frequency that he acted as though, as chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, he is above the law,” a report from the grand jury said.
Norristown Times Herald reporter Jenny DeHuff revealed she had heard Matthews and Democratic Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel III discussing county business over breakfast on two occasions, a possible violation of the state open-meetings laws. Local media have dubbed the scandal “breakfastgate.”
Matthews claimed that some Montgomery County Republicans were “out to get me” because he had been working with the Democratic commissioner.
Both Matthews and Hoeffel declined to run for re-election. They will step down next month when Democrats take control.
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman was expected to reveal additional details about the case Tuesday.