Tuesday, June 9, 2009


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?


Anonymous said...

Questions can be raised by new US Attorney's appointments on how fundraising was taking place among Republican Office Holders and Staffers too.

If the Bonusgate Investigations are in any way politically motivated, there will be a blowback on the Republicans in ways they never expected.

This is what happens in Two-Party system, sometimes you think you might be gaining in the end, only to end up losing, then regretting not being honest with yourself.

Anonymous said...

This is a fine example of how Campaigns can look like they made mistakes in hindsight, but actually did not do anything wrong at the time of taking Campaigns Money legally.

There is no question Tom Corbett and anybody else that took DeNaples Legal Campaign Contributions. Yet, no one expected DeNaples to be indicted and when it happen all of sudden anything and anybody connected itch DeNaples was under suspect at least from a media point of view.

Nevertheless, later on charges against DeNaples were dropped and ruling by the Supreme Court actually validated DeNaples right to contribute campaign monies.

Yet, a cynical public still snickers and claim something is being covered up, when actually nothing is wrong based upon the actions taken to date.

The same logic, and need not to rush to judgment of guilt along with compassion of knowing sometimes it can look like wrongdoing when all it was campaigning in the normal practice under the law.

Bonusgate needs such hindsight along with a proper solution that will not whitewash anything, but will not be a witch-hunt either! It is better justice prevails in the end, and charges once thought proper, can be withdrawn for the good of everyone including the commonwealth.

Anonymous said...

Sean Ramaley grew up with the values of his father a US Air Mechanic Union Member in Economy, Pennsylvania. Sean graduated from Quigley Catholic High School, and was an outstanding student participating in all student activities from sports to scouting.

Sean was able to earn his way to very prominent Allegheny College known for US President McKinley being an Alumnus. At Allegheny College, Sean Ramaley earn the award of the college's "Ethical Leader of the Year Award”

Upon graduation, Sean lived in Ohio by taking a job as a Research and Policy Aide for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, a finance and budgetary entity. As an advocate for public service, Sean was a citizen’s volunteer for many political campaigns for U.S. Congress, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Allegheny County Council, Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas, and several local municipal offices.

In order to expand his knowledge Sean graduated from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law, earning a spot becoming a member on the prestigious Law Review. After Law School, he became employed with United States Department of Labor, for the department's Administrative Law Judges and was an active member of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644.

Sean was active as citizen volunteer for the American Legion’s Boys State Program, co-founded the non-profit Keystone Leadership Development Corporation, and served on Penn State Beaver Advisory Board and the Allegheny College Alumni Council, serving with dedication and distinction.

Sean was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 for Pennsylvania's 16th legislative district. He has a lovely wife that was an Assistant District Attorney for Allegheny County with a young son.

Now in all honesty, is this kind of person we want to put in prison when he like many was campaigning without the intent to misuse or waste state resources? Is there no compassion for understanding that any of us at times can make an error in judgment without the purposeful arrogance labeled?

There is a better way to quit using outdated laws that cross-political parties’ lines that make lawbreakers out lawmakers in the most unfair manner with such a severe consequence, good people trying to work for the people, are caught up with being branded as being criminals, when this was never the case.

Please, in all fairness and in the interest of justice, let’s find a way to protect the commonwealth citizens by bringing a common sense, reasonable and justifiable outcome that can serve the public interests. Without destroying the lives of people that never thought, they were breaking any laws.

Sean Ramaley is good father, hardworking husband, intelligent person with a fine education, and yet, he was caught in a web of so many mundane election laws passed year ago, it proves there is something wrong with a system that seeks his imprisonment and ruination

Good men and women in law enforcement and government must stand and come up with a proper way to seek out a fair solution. It is clear, Sean Ramaley may have a mistake but this is "NOT" a man that never intended to break any laws, and good people know it.
I dare say, if one makes a living by charging and imprisoning people such as Sean Ramaley and others charged in both parties, then one cannot complain when people turn the tables and seek justice from others that know these were mistakes of sloppy practices, not intentional law breaking.

Anonymous said...

I think the time has come to call for an Independent Federal Prosecutor to investigate the Investigation of the Attorney General Office!

After all, Tom Corbett as US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania actually supervised current US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan and we know how she worked with Federal Judge Schwab (Former Head of Buchanan Ingersol Litigation Department) that was replaced from the Cyril Wecht Case by the Federal Appeals Court. The Cyril Wecht case was later dismissed by more reasonable minds in the Federal Appeals Courts too.

Is this another example of Republican Attorney Generals going after just Democrats and making sure they lose elections or are put out of office, just so Republicans can take their places?

Did you ever notice the word BET is within CorBETt, just a coincidence like the DeNalpes contributions.

I think we need some Independent Federal Oversight and we need it now!

Anonymous said...

Ummm..I knew Sean in Ohio. He was a stipend-paid intern with the Ohio House of Representatives in a special 13-month public service program sponsored by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. The OLSC is the state legislative drafting agency and NOT a budgetary or finance agency in the least. (?) I have to question his integrity if he or his supporters are describing his background so inaccurately...
I hope that justice will prevail!

Anonymous said...

I knew Sean Ramaley in Ohio, too. While the last "Anonymous" is correct, the Legislative Service Commission is a legislative drafting agency, not a finance agency, Sean was an intern with the Legislative Service Commission, assigned to the House Democratic Caucus Research and Policy Dept. In that assignment, he worked directly under the direction of the caucus Budget and Finance Director, and along with another staffer, advised the Caucus Representative on the State Controlling Board. Sounds like a budget/finance posititon to me...

Reading what Sean has been up to since he left Ohio was very interesting. After reading some of the postings and comments on this site, if you want to question anyone's integrity, I would suggest questioning the integrity of the PA Attorney General. If he runs investigations in such a shoddy manner, that might explain why PA is in the shape it is in.

Anonymous said...

If you have any doubt how power hungry and politically motivated MBB is just watch the documentary on Tommy Chong.