The club of former prosecutors is generally known to be very reluctant to speak out against or criticize active prosecutors or to comment on the way these prosecutors conduct themselves in public office. So former US Attorney Marston's strong criticism of Corbett is all the more remarkable because it just doesn't happen very often. It happens even less often when the former and the active prosecutor are both from the same political party.
Marston uses some strong words when describing what's wrong with Corbett's decision to run for Governor and his Bonusgate investigation.
From the Marston OP-ED piece:
"What's the problem with a prosecutor wearing a politician's hat? Corbett argues that previous attorneys general in both parties have run for governor without resigning their posts. But none of those attorneys general had embarked on a years-long criminal investigation of an entire branch of state government. And Corbett's Bonusgate probe is arguably only about 25 percent complete.
But Corbett doesn't seem to get it. He isn't probing routine consumer fraud or environmental misconduct; the subject of Bonusgate is political to its core."
To date much of the criticism of Corbett's political and partisan motivation in the Bonusgate probe has come from blog sites like this one and Checking the Balance and an occasional editorial in a newspaper.
Marston, as a former prosecutor, as a Republican with political experience (he ran for Governor and Mayor of Philadelphia in the late 70s), and as someone who has written and spoken on legal ethics, will not be so easy to dismiss by Corbett an his partisans. But we know Corbett won't take Marston's advice and will continue to use the Bonusgate investigation for his partisan and personal political gain. Corbett's investigation has already been compromised in many ways and he will ignore the advice and warnings Marston provides in this section of his opinion column:
"Especially in this atmosphere, citizens will wonder about Corbett's exercise of his prosecutorial discretion in deciding which legislators to charge. Is he advancing the public interest in honest government, or his personal interest in becoming governor? Even the existence of such questions can undermine public confidence in the office of the attorney general and other law-enforcement agencies.
Finally, one knee-jerk defense against charges of public corruption is that they are politically motivated. That was a central theme of Fumo's ultimately unsuccessful defense, and it is a charge that has dogged Corbett since the early days of Bonusgate.
In this context, it is not helpful that everyone Republican Corbett has charged to date is a Democrat. But even if Republican indictments in Bonusgate are imminent, as they are rumored to be, they, too, could be dismissed as political in light of Corbett's campaign. Worse, the trials of cases brought in Bonusgate could very well take place during the heat of the gubernatorial race, presenting defense attorneys with a potent argument that it really is all about politics."