(With a tip of the hat to the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board, who pointed out that investigation of Bernie Madoff's $65 billion scam took way less time than Attorney General Tom Corbett's investigation of the legislature, which began in January 2007)
The grandaddy of the modern political scandal. The break-in happened June 17, 1972. Nixon resigned August 9, 1974. Less than 26 months.
2. My Lai
The real investigation into the March 16, 1968 murders didn't even start until a full year after the killings, but charges were brought against Lt. William Calley and others on September 5, 1969. 18 months.
3. Al Capone
When President Herbert Hoover took office in January 1929, he directed Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to investigate Al Capone for income tax evasion and violations of the Volstead Act. Capone pleaded guilty in June 1931. Less than 18 months.
4. The Lindbergh Kidnapping
The 20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., was snatched from his crib March 1, 1932. Bruno Hauptmann was arrested in September 1934. 30 months. Okay, technically this isn't less time than Bonusgate, so far. If Corbett wraps it up in mid-summer we'll issue a retraction with a sincere apology.
The FBI approved the undercover operation in March 1978. Indictments were brought in May 1980. Less than 26 months.
And, because it's spring and we're in a good mood, here's a list to bring hope to certain legislative leaders:
Five Notorious Outlaws Who Never Were Prosecuted For Their Crimes
1. Bonnie & Clyde
Crimes: robbery, kidnapping and murder
Reason: killed in a shootout with police May 23, 1934. All things considered, they probably would have been better off turning themselves in. Not that we're suggesting anything to anyone.
2. Jesse James
Crimes: robbery, murder
Reason: murdered by a fellow outlaw. Lesson? Don't trust your fate to a known scoundrel (a lesson the Bonusgate defendants appear to have learned all too well).
3. Jack The Ripper
Crimes: gruesome serial murders
Reason: identity never discovered
4. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Crimes: robbery, murder
Reason: killed by Bolivian soldiers November 3, 1908. Or, possibly, faked their deaths, returned to the United States and lived to a ripe old age under assumed identities in Utah.
5. Eliot Spitzer
Spree: 2008. At least.
Crimes: patronizing a prostitute, first-degree hypocrisy
Reason: unknown. Occasionally the subject of a thinly-veiled portrayal on Law & Order by that guy who played the drummer in That Thing You Do.