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Cosentino, a member of the Italian Socialist Democratic Party, was municipal counsellor in 1978-1980, then provincial counsellor from 1980 to 1995. In that year he was elected into the Italian Chamber of Deputies for Forza Italia. In 2005 he ran for the Presidency of the Province of Caserta, but was defeated by the centre-left candidate Sandro De Franciscis. Cosentino was re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies in April 2008 for the Popolo della Libertà, Berlusconi's alliance. In September of the same year, he was involved (through the confession of a camorra boss, Gaetano Vassallo of allowing illegal treatment of toxic wastes in exchange of a monthly sum of 50,000 Euros. In 2009 magistrates Naples' anti-mafia commission sent to the Chamber of Deputies the request of arrest for Cosentino, but the Chamber's commission refused.
In 2010 Cosentino was also involved in a scandal related to wind energy systems in Sardinia, which led to the discovery of the so-called nuova P2 or P3 ("new Propaganda 2", the latter being a secret masonic lodge of the 1970s-early 1980s, of which Berlusconi was a member). He was called in by several entrepreneurs and Popolo della Libertà politicians. According to Rome's Tribunal, the accuses were:
- pressuring the Constitutional court to consider as legitimate the Lodo Alfano (a law which would have saved then prime minister Berlusconi from several of his trials, and which was finally declared invalid)
- supporting the readmission of the regional list "Per la Lombardia" in the regional elections in Lombardy. The list had been banned due to use of fake signatures on the petitions that are required for a political party, or list of candidates to be placed on the ballot.
- favouring the appointment of Alfonso Marra in the Court of Appeal in Milan
- supporting the candidature of Cosentino as governor of Campania through a smear campaign against the other Popolo della Libertà's candidate.
On 14 July 2010, Cosentino resigned as undersecretary of the Italian Ministry of Economy, although he retained the role as regional coordinator of Popolo della Libertà in Campania.
- "Pdl, Cosentino fuori dalle liste. Partito nel caos. Alfano: è la scelta giusta". ilmessaggero.it.
- "L'Espresso (con lo zampino di Roberto Saviano) fa le pulci al deputato Cosentino". casertasette.it (in Italian). Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- "Così ho avvelenato Napoli", L'Espresso, by Gianluca Di Feo and Emiliano Fittipaldi, 11 September 2008 (Italian)
- "Cosentino: La Camera lo salva con due no", La Repubblica, 11 December 2009, by Giovanna Casadio (Italian)
- "Il gip: «Carboni cercò di influire sulla Consulta per la decisione su Lodo Alfano»", Corriere della Sera, 8 July 2010 (Italian)
- Cosentino's candidature had lost steam after his involvement in the toxic wastes scandal
- "P3, Cosentino si dimette: 'E' una persecuzione'", ANSA bulletin, 15 July 2010 (Italian)