Tuesday, June 9, 2009
CORBETT CAMPAIGN CASH
An Ugarte post:
Yesterday, the US Supreme Court handed down an important decision regarding the influcence of campaign contributions on the administration of justice in America.
In Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company, the ruling was made that elected judges must recuse themselves from cases where those involved spent large amounts of money to help them win their elections.
In the majority decision, Justice Kennedy wrote that when an interested party's contributions to a judge could have a "disproportionate influence" on a matter before the court, then the judge must disqualify him or herself.
This ruling deals with a situation that closely mirrors partisan Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett's bonusgate investigation.
For over a year, many here in Pennsylvania (and not just Democrats) have been asking the question, "How can Tom Corbett be impartial in his investigation of Republicans in the legislature if he has taken large amounts of campaign donations from the very people he is supposed to be investigating?"
Corbett has taken over a quarter million dollars in campaign donations from Republican legislators, Republican leadership committees and Republican legislative staff.
When you add in contributions Corbett has received from local Republican candidates and Republican Party committees his total take increases to $2,866,938.20. This is over one-third of all contributions Corbett has accepted since filing to run for Attorney General in 2002.
It isn't unprecedented to see prosecutors use their power to further political and personal agendas.
In the last few years, Alberto Gonzales ruined the reputation of the US Department of Justice, and right here in Pennsylvania Mary Beth Buchanan followed Gonzalez's example, most notably with the Wecht case. Even the Pittsburgh Tribune Review has documented Buchanan's one-sided bias toward prosecuting Democrats. ("Majority of defendants in corruption cases by Buchanan were Dems", 6/7/09)
If the United States Supreme Court thinks it is possible for a sitting judge to have their impartiality compromised by campaign donations, then what would they think of a prosecutor conducting an "active" investigation who receives one in three campaign dollars from the very people he is ostensibly investigating...Republican organizations and elected officials? Even more, a prosecutor who is running for Governor and needs the support of these very same Republican individuals and organizations?