Monday, June 15, 2009


This weekend the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Vince Fumo is attempting to delay his sentencing hearing now scheduled for July 14th. ("Fumo could get 21-27 years" 6/13/09)

Here at Casablancapa we're assuming the judge won't delay, so we're using July 14th as the date for making over/under bets on when partisan Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett will bring his long promised indictments against Republican members of the legislature.

A July 14th news splash regarding Fumo presents Corbett an interesting public relations problem.

On one hand, Corbett could hold true to his past practice and make a bonusgate related announcement only when there is unhelpful news or commentary regarding his conduct of his bonusgate investigation. If he does, then he'll wait for Fumo's sentencing (which will provide his gubernatorial rival Pat Meehan some good media attention) and then trump Meehan by bringing his Republican indictments afterward.

On the other hand, Corbett may not want to let the one year anniversary of his one-sided indictiments of Democrats to pass on July 10th. It is hard to imagine that the media, the chattering class and large numbers of voters won't notice that a year has passed without Corbett living up to his promise of indiciting Republicans.

If you remember, Corbett was adamant as early as September of 2008 that he was preparing to indict Republicans. Here he is telling Pete Jackson with the Associated Press how close he was to bringing indictments:

"Pennsylvania's attorney general says the next round of arrests in the 'Bonusgate' investigation will come either this month or after the election...Corbett said more arrests could be made this month 'if all the dominoes fall in the right line.''' (Associated Press, 9/8/08)

This is quite a public relations conundrum for Corbett. Let's face it...Corbett's handling of the bonusgate investigation has been one big p.r. cow to milk for his gubernatorial aspirations.

Either Corbett waits to announce Republican indictments until AFTER Fumo is charged on or around July 14th thus blunting good coverage for his rival Meehan, or he announces his long promised Republican indictments BEFORE July 14th so he doesn't let the one year anniversary of his hammering of Democrats on July 10th pass without living up to his promise of Republican arrests.

Of course, there are still a few holdouts here at Casablancapa who don't believe Corbett will make any Republican arrests (and certainly no charges that even come close to his hammering of Democrats a year ago.)

Let us know what you think! Tell us if Corbett makes his Republican arrests before or after July 14th.


Anonymous said...

In spite of what many think, Mike Veon and his Staff did much good for the commonwealth as a legislator.

Mike always was for the working people and true to his values from his roots. Mike never supported replacement workers, worked hard to increase the minimum wage, helped pass bills criminalizing sexual harassment and allowing women to seek pre-emptive Protection From Abuse orders as well as sponsoring the mass transit law that gave disabled citizens easy access seats.

I respect all public service and the people that work in the public sector. It is my belief that people that run for public office are fodder for every friend, foe, and media, not just opponents. They and their families are subjects of ridicule of the cruelest kind.

Public servants and their staffs are brave enough to run every year 2, 4, or 6 years. Spend much time away from their wives, children and relatives. It is not that they develop calluses on their hands but they often put in 18 hour days, and they are a 24/7 operation. A storm hits a community they are there, a crime spree they meet to take action, accidents were children are hurt because of a defective guardrail, they see it corrected.

Yet, they are unappreciated, it is my hope all of them can come of out these investigations and trials with the minimum of damage to their lives or a compromise is reached based on understanding the nature of the job.

Mike Veon and all that worked for people like him may have made some mistakes like anyone does every day, but he has accomplished much for strangers that are citizens as well. One can judge and throw stones at him, but I prefer to point out his noble character in working hard all of the time.

Success know no strangers and defeat knows no friends, it is only fair to judge all involved in this episode of mistakes that should not all be crimes, if intent is not there.

I hope the State Attorney General employees understand anybody could become caught up in a witch hunt of such expansion, no one is safe, including allegations about their own.

When Witch Hunts occur the problem is not finding the witches, but living with knowledge that innocent people were accused for doing something they never knew was wrong, and to carry that guilt the rest of your life will weigh you down with regrets you will never expect.

Once again, this state scandal of bonuses on state time is so vast in its nature, it is too large to resolve in courts that will cost so much more for the commonwealth citizens.

There must be a brave man or woman to stand up and say, we can make the commonwealth whole by a good compromise that can save the people from further waste of monies that are desperately needed in this economic time of debts, deficits, and unemployment.

Corbett has to stand up and do the right thing, think it all through, and look for a better way that is an innovative justice solution, showing he has the stuff of being a Governor by how he saved the commonwealth without damage of people, institutions, and invitations to join public service.

Everyone in Harrisburg has already been careful to obey ethics, follow reforms put in place, and change the way they have campaigned. Now lets find a compromise to resolve the allegations together for the betterment of the commonwealth too!

This is what makes Public Service Unique, finding better ways to resolve problems, instead of just doing the old way of seeking higher office without regard.

Doing the right thing is never wrong no matter how much one is criticized for it at first, in the long haul, it noble, just, and serves a beacon of a Lighthouse in the Fog, and example for children to follow on their way to public service.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that there never are any Republican indictments at any time, and slowly "bonusgate" either morphs into "Veongate" or, with a solid defense effort from those determined not to plead guilty, just gradually fades away.

Anonymous said...

I think this is all political theater on Corbett's part. He's jockeying for position and will only go after people who are no longer in office or no longer have clout.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, anon....sign your name if you're so proud of Veon.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, PLEASE let this be the new defense strategy.

(Because I could really use a good laugh.)

Dunn said...

Mike Veon was the lone holdout for the 2005 pay raise. Enough said. Good Riddance.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying Mike Veon is guiltless, did not make mistakes, and is to be exocerated from all events that came under his leadership.

Certainly, some of his actions border on the same as convicted senator Fumo. It will be up to Veon’s Lawyers to defend him as they see fit.

No question trying to defend oneself saying everybody did it has proven not be the best Defense Strategy and never works. However, an Agreement can be worked out that will save the commonwealth money by avoiding the need to prove these events before a jury.

It is in the best interest of justice to look for ways to resolve wrongdoing based on the evidence and taking into account how and why it all happen, without running away from justice either.

What I am saying is that many Staffers did not intentionally seek to cross the lines between illegal and legal activities. It is a shame when someone thinks he or she is doing his or her jobs and all of a sudden, you find that you have been crossing the line each year, to where it now amounts to illegality.

There is nothing wrong in trying to explore ways justice can prevail and reforms now are in reinforced taking into account that good people that meant well, were caught up with going beyond the pale without the intention to break laws they thought were the normal practice between constituent service and campaigning often blurred by the reality of the day.

All I am a saying is give these people a fair shake they never all bad, and did some very good things for many people by doing their job, and now know they should have been more careful, also proving everything they are accused of will not be so easy, and there are proper ways to deal with them that actually benefits the people, commonwealth, and citizens.

I trust Corbett and his staff to do the right thing for the commnwealth and all of its citizens, looking into ways to resolve these investigation in and timly and cost effective manner hould be a priority too.

Anonymous said...

A majority of legislators voted for the pay raise in 2005, or have you forgotten that it actually passed. Do you think Veon voted against the repeal, knowing that he was the only holdout, because he wanted a payraise? The repeal was going to pass; what was the point in his voting against it? It may have been a stupid hill to die on, but he'd made a deal and wouldn't go back on it. There was a lot of important legislation that wouldn't have passed that year if certain legislators didn't get their payraise. A lot of them are still there and nobody feels the need to attack them at every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

The Pay Raise was promoted on both Republican and Democratic lines, Veon stood his ground and paid a big price for it, but that was his call, and he admitted he got it wrong that led to his defeat. Republican senators Jubelier and Brightbill went down in flames by Republicans voting them out of office.

Until we see investigations, charges, and indictments on Republicans, it is hard to understand how the AG Office is not using most of its resources on just Democrats, like most of the US Attorney’s were caught doing under President Bush.

It also must be remembered, that Re-Districting will take place in 2010 and the Republicans would love to have the Majorities in the Senate and House with a Republican Governor. These are the players for new districts in 2010!

At the same time, AG Corbett as Governor can name his own successor to the AG Office, if he is Governor, and if Arlan Specter wins and retires, name a new Senator to Washington?

As I am starting to see it, these Indictments may very well be more about politics in the future, than the truth and manipulation for the future may very well be more important than true and fair justice may. We will know by how many Republicans are indicted in the coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

All I know in my heart and head is staffers that did work on elections had a tough time in knowing when constituent services ends and campaigning starts, and that will be shown in all 4 caucuses across party lines.

Mike Manzo, Foreman, Cott, LaValle, and all of the current defendants and anymore that are named, should be given a fair understanding and investigation from the point of view of what was political normal for years, and many never knew was illegal every minute of any day.

Tom Corbett must be fair and see that these people are "NOT" terrible criminals that planned to break any laws, but actually were caught up with just doing their jobs, of which, is the election and re-election of public servants.

I am not making excuses for all actions, but surely one must come to understand, how working for years can cause ethical breaches in one’s mind focused on helping candidates, and it is often very tough to know when constituent service ends and campaigning starts!

It is does not justify everything but it sure does explain something’s without the intent to cheat anyone or the state. Unfairness can be just as wrong as injustice. These are not hardened criminals but hard working staffers that did their jobs, as much as being told later that it was all wrong.

This is why it is tough on Tom Corbett and his staffs to be fair in his judgments and findings as well. Hindsight is so perfect, but justice is so hard to find, and in the meantime, it is so easy to mock, condemn, and say they are evil people, when it is not true!

Anonymous said...

Public corruption, even if it is "the normal culture" is still public corruption. The notion that the people should "go easy" on perpetrators is vile.

That line between "constituent services and campaign" is pretty clear. When you erase hard drives? That's not a constituent service. When you make fundraising calls using your state office? Not a consituent service. When you hand out taxpayer funded bonuses as a reward for campaigning? That is not a constituent service.

I'm sure now, with the very real specter of jail time hanging over your head, you are trying to rationalize your behavior as to why you are not a bad person, and why it is "not fair", and why you are being "singled out".

It's because you are a bad person, who betrayed the public trust.

bobguzzardi said...

Unfortunately, I think there will be no Republican indictments, either Senate or House. I am pessimistic that AG Corbett will pay an electoral price for this but we shall see.

The Conservative Reform base is, I think, aware of AG Corbett's politicizing the Bonusgate investigation and prosecution which will be incontrovertible if not a single Republican is indicted, including uber hack John Perzel.

Politicizing law enforcement is not a conservative reform core value and this may hurt AG Corbett in red part of the state if Jim Gerlach runs. Pat Meehan is seen as "Specter's Man" and will, likely, not draw Conservative Reform votes.

I hope AG Corbett pays a price for his perfidy. In many way, a lot worse than what Mike Veon(and, probably BillDeWeese)did.

Anonymous said...

Public corruption, even if it is "the normal culture" is still public corruption. The Dr. Cyril Wecht case proved that assumption wrong. There are some cases where no every one thought they were breaking the law.

There are other ways to hold such employees accountable without prosecutions that can be beyond the pale as well!

You said, “The notion that the people should "go easy" on perpetrators is vile.” First off, they are perpetrators if they did not intend to break a law, that is your label, and no matter how confident you may feel you are right to call them that, you will be making a serious mistake if later proven wrong and then someone may call your comments vile with perfect hindsight and that would be unfair too.

You said “That line between” constituent services and campaign" is pretty clear”. No it is not, Senator Stevens’s dismissals, Dr. Wecht dismissals, and others in history have show that is not the case all the time. They also show some Prosecutions are unfair, lack fair judgments, and were waste of tax dollars and can come back on the Prosecutors too.

I agree with you when you say, “When you erase hard drives? That's not a constituent service.” Clearly, that is an attempt to cover up, but there are fair ways to separate those activities from others that took place. Not all charged did that thing, so are you guilty of saying things about others you did not intent to be true, and if so, should you be prosecuted too?

I cannot agree with you when you say, “When you make fundraising calls using your state office? Not a constituent service.” This is a very murky, unclear, and often-tough law to obey at all times and Attorney General Employees that gave 1,000 contributions could be accused of the same thing or did political work on government time as well. This is a two way street that is not easy to navigate at anytime by anyone.

I also agree when you say, “When you hand out taxpayer funded bonuses as a reward for campaigning? That is not a constituent service.” No question those money should be given back to the commonwealth, but many got those bonuses without asking for them. One has to be fair, and one can come up with a way short of prosecutions for that to happen, not by just those charged, but by all that got any bonuses at all. Additionally, the important thing too is that Reforms have been put in place to stop future practices on bonuses.

I am not one of the employees charged and jail time is not hanging over my head. I am an average citizen that can see some unfairness is being painted with a broad brush as well as be politically motivated.

The Public Trust can be betrayed just as easily by other Pubic Employees that thought they were doing their jobs as well, but can similar allegations come back on them too.

Public Corruption can be cleaned up with thoughtful ways that need not waste more tax dollars and take into account how reforms and practices can be changed without prosecutions as well.