Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dog Ate the Republican Indictments

A Captain Renault post: Attorney General and Space Cadet Tom Corbett's recent announcement that there would be no more indictments in the Bonusgate investigation before the election continues to draw stinging criticism from people, reporters, editorial boards, and organizations all over the state.

Corbett's excuses and explanations for not investigating Republicans sooner or faster and not indicting Republicans before the election would be laughable - funny even - if he were not the top law enforcement officer of the state.

The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal weighed in on Monday with an editorial that said:

"...but this delay is distressing because it's believed that Corbett's investigation is now focusing on possible wrongdoing inside the Republican House and Senate caucuses. After perp-walking the Democrats in July, Corbett - a Republican who is seeking re-election - is now giving his party a bit of a breather. It also brings the specter of partisanship into the situation..."

In a September 23rd column, Capitolwire Bureau Chief Pete DeCoursey really nailed it. Here is the first part of his column:

DeCoursey: "HARRISBURG (Sept. 23) - At least Tom Corbett didn't say the dog ate his sense of fairness, or unruly mice ate all of his leads into the Republicans.

But his excuses for charging Democrats, and only Democrats before this election, had that smack of bad high school excuses.

It made me think of the time, back in high school, I once asked a teacher for an extension on a major paper, a 30-pager at a minimum.

He asked me: "When did you start on it?"

I told him "two days ago," about a project that would take at least 30 hours of concentrated work.

The teacher, quite reasonably, said he would be inclined to cut me a break if I had started in time, but since I started too late to conceivably complete it in time, "it will affect your grade, and my opinion of you."

So my first reaction to Attorney General Tom Corbett's announcement that there will be no more charges before the election, because he lacked time to present info to the grand jury, was: "When did you start?"

Well, Corbett started looking into the House Democrats in March 2007 and seized their records that summer, months before he sought or seized any records from other caucuses.

Then, 16 months after he began his probe, he charged one former House member, Rep. Mike Veon, D-Beaver, one current member, Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Beaver, and 10 former or suspended House Democratic staffers, with official corruption charges.

So he seized their stuff first, got around to looking at the computer records of others months to a half-year later, and apparently waited until he finished charging Democrats before he began summoning Republicans before the grand jury.

Now after weeks of stories about the tough questions Corbett and his investigators have apparently been asking various House Republicans, and the records he is poring over from Senate Republicans, we are told that, darn it, Corbett ran out of time before he could charge anyone else.

Gosh, that is more convenient than the time I watched a public school teacher punish only four of eight kids who beat up another kid, because the teacher said graduation was coming and he ran out of time.

Or the time a kid at a big Philly private school whose parents were big donors forgot to do his independent study senior project, and graduated anyway, because he just ran out of time, and heck, no one wanted to hold that against him.

Both were examples of favoritism, pure and simple, and gosh, this has the same smell as that."

Captain Renault: There are very few people in the PA political arena who believe it is a coincidence that Corbett took 18 months to only investigate House Democrats -- despite clear evidence of similar alleged wrongdoings by House and Senate Republicans -- and then "ran out of time" to charge any Republicans before the election.

We all know this is an important election year. PA is an important battleground in the race for President. Corbett is up for re-election. The State House Democrats have a 1 seat majority. Republican former Speaker John Perzel is in a tough race. Corbett had an active and strong presence at the Republican National convention a month ago. You don't have to take much of a leap to figure out that Corbett is determined to do his part for the Republican party before election day.

Read the entire DeCoursey column in this post. Developing...lots more to come.

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