Monday, March 30, 2009



House Democrats:

Republicans are always the best at shrill histrionics, so it isn’t any surprise that two Pennsylvania Republican state legislators would have their panties in a twist over Delta Development’s involvement with partisan Attorney General Tom Corbett’s latest attack on Mike Veon.

Here is State Rep. Mario Civera in Saturday’s Patriot:

“Civera, in a letter to his Republican colleagues, urged them to halt their dealings with Delta until the firm's relationship with the Democratic caucus is clarified…’I never imagined it would be possible the Democratic caucus would be sending a lobbyist to talk to me on a legislative issue,’ Civera said in the letter.” (“GOP leaders seek Delta boycott” Patriot News, 3/12/09)

The GOP is great at being shrill, but it is even better at being hypocritical.

You see, in 1996, the House Republican Caucus hired Mark Zabierek, who was at the time a prominent Pittsburgh lobbyist, to lobby house members. He was paid more than $20,000 to curry favor with House Democrats on the Republican Caucus’ workers’ compensation legislation.

The House Republican spokesman at the time said, “[Zabierek] has been very helpful and very useful, and his relationship was open and public. He has been a valuable link for Mr. Perzel in understanding issues important to Western Pennsylvania.” (“Lobbyist’s hiring is questioned” Post Gazette, 6/27/96)

Civera wasn’t whining then, so why now?

Much more troubling than the rank hypocrisy from Civera is the hatchet job Corbett is deliberately conducting on Delta Development.

Everyone in Harrisburg knows Delta Development to be a well-respected lobbying and consulting firm. But, that hasn’t stopped Corbett from slamming Delta for allegedly unethical practices (curiously, without bringing charges against anyone associated with Delta.)

Corbett went so far as to pull the strings on his marionette Mike Manzo to have him testify to the Grand Jury that Delta received its contracts because Delta is “a Democratic firm who gives a lot of money to Democratic candidates.” (Patriot News, 3/28/09)

The end result a perfectly partisan blackball of Delta Development in the Pennsylvania legislature. Most notably with the Republican controlled State Senate. Here is Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi on Saturday:

“One day after the House Democratic caucus canceled a contract with Delta Development Group, based in Mechanicsburg, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi ordered members of his party to steer clear of Delta lobbyists. ‘I am suspending any contact between any representative of Delta Development and my office until Delta provides an adequate explanation of the nature and extent of its relationship with the House Democratic caucus,’ Pileggi said Friday.” (“Hempfield has second thoughts on lobbyist” Tribune Review, 3/28/09)

This partisan blackballing of Delta Development isn’t happening in a vacuum. A firm near and dear to Republicans stands to gain enormously from Delta’s demise.

Ask anyone in Harrisburg who is Delta’s main competitor in the economic development field and the answer you’ll get is McCullough Consulting Group.

Here are examples of McCullough Consulting’s work in Frackville, Susquehanna Township, Coopersburg, Spring Township, Lititz, Mechanicsburg and Warwick. Here in Lower Paxton you can see that Delta and McCullough are in direct competition.

McCullough Consulting is headed by Sam McCullough, former DCED Secretary under Republican Tom Ridge. It is also a joint venture with the Republican lobbying firm of Stevens & Lee. Check it out for yourself here.

Corbett considers Delta a “Democratic” firm because since 2000 it has given $88,900 to Democrats and $77,290 to Republicans. (“House Dems abruptly cancel deal with consultant Delta Development” Tribune Review, 3/27/08)

Using that standard, it is clear that Stevens & Lee and McCullough Consulting is a Republican firm because just since 2004 its PAC “Citizens for a Better Commonwealth” contributed $259,250 to Republicans and $170,250 to Democrats. Corbett received nearly $10,000 directly. Check it out for yourself here. (Data from PA Department of State campaign finance records)

It is no accident that Delta Development is being dragged through the mud by Corbett and subsequently being blackballed by Republicans. Just follow the money.

This is all par for the course for partisan Republican Tom Corbett. In the past, he’s looked the other way and stacked the deck for his political friends -- most notably in York and Bedford counties.

There is also the on-going lawsuit against Corbett that appears to show some serious pay to play within the Attorney General’s Financial Enforcement Section. See it for yourself here.

And, just last week, he completely ignored the rank hypocrisy of Sandra Schultz-Newman using her judicial parking permit illegally even though his taxpayer-funded political hack Brian Nutt thought he scored the political coup of the century when John Morganelli was caught doing the exact same thing last year. (“Vigilant Corbett aides slam opponent on parking” Patriot News, 8/27/08) Of course, Corbett is keeping her on his gubernatorial campaign exploratory committee.

This wheeling-and-dealing with justice isn’t confined to Republicans.

There seems to be some kind of deal between Corbett and DeWeese. How else do you explain how DeWeese hasn’t been charged and is traipsing around the caucus saying “the investigation of Democrats is over” and “I will not be charged.”

Corbett’s entire bonusgate investigation is seriously compromised by partisanship, secret deals and just plain incompetence.

Perhaps House Majority Leader Todd Eachus is on to something when he says Corbett should consider stepping aside as Attorney General so he can run his campaign for Governor. (“House leader questions AG’s candidacy” Patriot News, 3/30/09)

At the very least, you need to demand Corbett cease his partisan and willfully destructive charade of an investigation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Majority Leader Todd Eachus is not wrong in calling for Tom Corbett to resign if these investigations are going to be one sided, long-term political theatrics, for the purpose to elect oneself as Governor.

It is clear now that these Investigations are taking far too long and now the Appearance of Impropriety is descending upon the Attorney General’s Office.

The Pennsylvania Taxpayer is the real loser if the Attorney General is going to string out these investigations like trickle water to a Dam so they can rush out just before Primary election day in 2010.

If there is so much Public Corruption, why is it taking so long and at the Public Expense?

It looks like the investigations and trials are going to cost the Commonwealth Taxpayers more than what was spent over the bonuses and expense accounts?

I am not asking for a cover up, or for these matters to be swept under the rug.

It is clear public monies were spent for campaign work, but many of these Campaigners/Employees always were working on both many at the same time.

The simple fact remains many did not all the facts all the time, and many never thought they were breaking any laws.

The ones that knew it already gained immunity or have cooperated for plea deals, leaving others stuck between being bankrupt or facing prison for being good citizens trying to elect people to office.

Sure, there were misunderstanding, innocent unintentional mistakes of bookkeeping, and failures to remember when campaigning started, and public service ended for citizens mixed too often.

All of the Legislative and Senatorial Leadership already have admitted they made mistakes, were sloppy, and have placed in true reforms. Ethics and understanding campaign policies are being self-enforced like never before in Harrisburg.

I truly feel it is proper for the Attorney General to release all his findings within a deadline and conclude how the Taxpayers can be made whole by working out a proper solution with everyone involved from the AG Office to the Lawyers to the Leadership.

Now that would be truly gubernatorial material, would restore public confidence with public admissions, and bring in reforms that will cost the Taxpayers far less in the long run.

All working without avoiding justice or restitution as well as ruining the lives of people that truly did not know they were breaking the laws.