"When I decided to come forward, I understood the consequences but I told my [college-aged] son, 'sometimes what is right disagrees with what is best for you,' " Shaffer said.
LaGrotta lost his re-election bid in 2006, due mostly to the infamous 2005 pay grab, after 18 years in the Legislature.
Shaffer left LaGrotta's office near the end of 2006 and by deciding to testify essentially killed any chance of getting another political job.
He's since gotten foreclosure papers on his Beaver County house because he couldn't keep up mortgage payments.
He admits it was easier to talk once outside the system and says a reason more people don't come forward is that insiders "keep this stuff quiet by paying good salaries and benefits" to those who know that speaking out invites joblessness.
(Ironically, the day he was called to testify he got e-mail from LaGrotta's office saying a job interview was arranged for him in U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's Pittsburgh office. He contacted Casey's office, told them LaGrotta was under investigation, and never heard back.)
But Shaffer has "absolutely no regrets" about coming forward and sees the unfolding investigation as "a unique opportunity" for reform.
"If people don't step up now and work for change, they don't deserve good government," Shaffer said. "