Thursday, June 11, 2009


Regular readers are well aware that Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett secretly granted a favored informant immunity under a sealed order in October 2007. It appears to be the second of only two immunity orders granted under seal.

Team CasablancaPa has long suspected that favored informant goes by the initials H.W.D. We have grown more convinced with the public release of thousands of pieces of evidence, which Corbett reviewed and turned over to defendants as part of the discovery process.

Our theory is controversial; after all, Corbett certainly had no reason to trust Bill DeWeese. But wouldn't he have every reason to trust a Republican former state Inspector General and campaign contributor? Bill Chadwick was paid at least $1.3 million in taxpayer loot to keep DeWeese out of jail, and certainly the ability to broker such deals was among his bag of costly tricks.

The problem with the "speeding car" analogy some invoke to defend Corbett's failure to charge DeWeese is that Corbett didn't just let the DeWeesemobile go zipping by. He stopped it, searched it, looked under the hood and kicked the tires. ("DeWeese is the most-investigated guy on the landscape," Chadwick says)

What we have here is: an obviously culpable person who inexplicably faces no charges, a sealed immunity order that - like Cinderella's slipper - fits no other foot but DeWeese's, and a secret, taxpayer-produced file DeWeese refuses to reveal to the rest of the Democratic Caucus. Occam's Razor applies.

Did DeWeese know the caucus apparently was awarding bonuses for political work? Check.

(Did he lie about it? All. The. Time.)

Did DeWeese's top aide testify that DeWeese was complicit in awarding bonuses for political work? Check.

Did DeWeese base personnel decisions on political work? Check.

Did DeWeese employ staff members solely to perform political work? Check.

Did DeWeese and his staff use state-funded resources for political work? Check.

As if all this weren't enough to throw suspicion on Corbett's failure to charge DeWeese, there's the matter of DeWeese aides Kevin Sidella and Tom Andrews.

Political operative Sidella left public employ in October 2007, just before DeWeese gave his chosen scapegoats the ax, and coinciding with the secret immunity order. Every month since his departure, Sidella has collected a payment from DeWeese's campaign committee, equal to the salary he had received as a state employee.

Evidence recently made public reveals Sidella and Andrews supervised and orchestrated the very activities at the center of Corbett's prosecution. Corbett examined nearly 200 e-mails demonstrating their direction of the "LCOMM" and petition challenge efforts for which others face multiple felony charges. These e-mails not only implicate Andrews and Sidella, they actually conflict with Corbett's allegations against the defendants. The only reason those e-mails came to light is because they were among the small percentage of evidence that didn't pass through DeWeese's hands on the way to Corbett.

A curious side note about "LCOMM": Corbett included a weird non sequitur in the grand jury presentment that DeWeese "always communicated with Buxton through his campaign account." Of course it doesn't matter whether DeWeese used a state e-mail account, a campaign account or a big box of crayons to assign political tasks to a taxpayer-funded contractor. So why even mention it? "Sure, he broke into your house, but he wiped his feet on the mat first!"

Sidella was granted immunity and has been "cooperating" with prosecutors though none of his statements yet have been presented as evidence against the defendants. Whether Andrews scored a similar deal is unknown - according to investigators' notes, he apparently was neither interviewed nor subpoenaed. Though he serves as DeWeese's press secretary, he largely has escaped press scrutiny regarding Bonusgate.

What is known is that it would raise inconvenient questions for Corbett to prosecute either Andrews or Sidella without prosecuting DeWeese.

Still not suspicious? Let's look at the timeline:

In August of 2007, Corbett seized files from the House Democratic Research Office.

DeWeese fought to prevent admission of the "privileged documents."

In September of 2007, Corbett subpoenaed seven staff members to testify to the grand jury.

DeWeese fought to quash the subpoenas.

During September and October, the Supreme Court refused to block the subpoenas, and a judge ruled the seized files admissible.

In October, Corbett granted secret immunity to his mystery informant. Kevin Sidella quietly left the state payroll and began collecting the equivalent of his state salary from DeWeese's campaign fund.

In November, DeWeese fired seven staffers, most of whom were later indicted, and delivered to Corbett thousands of carefully-selected e-mails and documents that would become a basis for those indictments.

DeWeese immediately launched a revisionist history campaign, declaring that he'd been cooperating with Corbett "since Day One." (Try to exclude evidence and quash subpoenas? Who, me?) He confidently predicted he would not be indicted. (Wonder how he could be so sure?)
Keep in mind, this is just the case an average blogger can make with information already public and documented. Imagine the case a prosecutor could make with the powers of search warrants and subpoenas. If he wanted to. Of course, none of this is proof of an immunity deal. There's always the possibility that Corbett is just astonishingly inept.

Another side note: As we reviewed more than two years of media coverage, it dawned on us that prior to Veon's motion for dismissal, editorialists across the state were nearly unanimous in calling for DeWeese's head. ("Is Time Running Out For DeWeese?"... "The wrong folks lost their jobs in Harrisburg this week" ... "More questions raised on DeWeese's role" ... "Burden of suspicion." )
No one could believe DeWeese would escape prosecution. ("It's hard to see how Mr. DeWeese survives "Bonusgate." ... "DeWeese's latest controversy just stirs up more questions." ... "There could be a whopper of a furball in his future.")

Now that it's clear Corbett has given DeWeese a pass, columnists and editorial writers are
lining up to defend his decision. The Post-Gazette is so confused that it hyperventilated over events Veon had nothing to do with while simultaneously bashing Veon for pointing to events he had nothing to do with. "We have always been at war with Eastasia!"


Anonymous said...

In another week or two,your one-sided ramblings on Bonusgate may supplant the JFK assassination's "Second Bullet" argument as the most proffered but unprovable theory in U.S. history, with the possible excaption of UFO's being stored in Area 51.
Ever hear of Shakespeare? He's the guy who wrote, "Methinks thou doest protest too much."

Anonymous said...

Some of the people that have already made plea agreements and are admitting guilt will be given credit for doing the right thing.

It is sad, because these campaigns in reality just got out of control, and little by little, each year by year, laws were walked on, until they crossed the line. Yet, everyone wants to forget that these practices and small crosses over the legal line were started back in the 1990's.

Thus, I am still of the opinion, and to be serious about it, the state can be made whole by the return the bonus without costly prosecutions, and subject to misdemeanors, not criminal convictions that ruin lives when many thought they were doing the right things for their employers.

The important thing is this way, the taxpayers are reimbursed, cost of prosecutions are eliminated, the practice shave stopped and are reformed, and we can prevent some very good people from being ruin for a long time to come.

It is not just an opinion, but also the right thing to do, for the people, of the state, and by understanding we all make mistakes that grow into bigger things, we often cannot control, and all hindsight is golden.

I truly care about rational, non-discriminatory and reasonable just settlements for all lawmakers, staffs, and subcontractors involved in these cases and Attorney General Office should not be condemn for doing a duty it was elected for by the people either.

There is a better way, everyone can resolve these problems so the commonwealth citizens win the end with ruining good people caught up with questionable things that will never see the them happen again.

German courier #1 said...

I must say, the title of this article is clever, a fun reference to "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones. Younger (and some older) readers might not grasp the allusion.

I am sure readers will also be enthralled to hear of the nature of ...your... game. When this whole damn game ends . . .

By the way, the whole thing reminds me of what Rick told Ugarte regarding the killing of the German couriers:

Ugarte: Too bad about those two German couriers, wasn't it?
Rick: They got a lucky break. Yesterday they were just two German clerks. Today they're the "Honored Dead".
Ugarte: You are a very cynical person, Rick, if you'll forgive me for saying so.
Rick: [shortly] I forgive you

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem here is that anybody can be indicted if they did one thing on state time, even if it is a personal phone call about family member in the hospital.

Even worse, any investigation could be launched at all state offices, agencies, and related entities that use state money.

Fairness with understanding how many sloppy political practices became the norm must be the standard-bearer for justice in these cases. We must be careful before we target people to remove their life, liberty, or property from them.

All Prosecutors know very the Prosecutors Manual of Standards to bring charges against anybody in America, the commonwealth, or other locally.

The prosecutor will either:
1. Decide that the case should be charged (as a felony or a misdemeanor), and file a complaint with the trial court
2. Decide that the case should be charged as a felony and bring evidence before citizens serving as grand jurors, who will decide what charges, if any, to file, or
3. Decide that the matter should not be pursued.
Prosecutors may also be subjective by their own political aspirations. Most prosecutors are elected officials, and many of them view their position as a stepping-stone to higher office. Their judgment on charges are often affected by public opinion or important support groups. For example, a prosecutor may file charges on every shoplifting case, no matter how weak, to curry favor with local store owners who want to get the word out that shoplifters will be prosecuted.
Finally, some decisions are partial by the prosecutor's sense of what justice requires in the case before them. Prosecutors are supposed to both implement the law and "do justice."

Doing justice means that a prosecutor occasionally decides not to prosecute a case because the interests of justice require it, even if the facts of the case might support a conviction. For example, if an otherwise law-abiding person makes a one or few foolish mistakes, a prosecutor may decide that it would not serve any purpose to spend time and money prosecuting this person, especially when the chances that the person will re-offend are nil.

In this case, a few have been charged and they and others will tell you they did not know they were breaking any laws at the time.

It is my belief on constitutional grounds all of these charges can be overturned on Appeal after any convictions. They are just so vast, so indiscriminate, and so prevailing prior to knowing laws were broken without the intent.

Fairness has to be the keystone of any investigation, charges have to be solid without uncertainty, and one’s conscious has to triumph that we cannot hurt a few in the name of saving the many.

If this was an isolated case, it would be one thing, but this encompasses both political parties to the point that to pursue just a few without looking for a compromise to make the state whole, will hurt any candidate now or in the future that wants to promote an agenda for helping commonwealth citizens live their everyday lives.

Corbett is a good man and has people around him that can help find justice in these cases that helps and avoids burdening the commonwealth.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't know it was wrong to use taxpayer dollars to fund my own re-election campaign efforts. I swear I won't do it again."

Pshhhht. Tell it to the judge.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but it is not as easy as to say, "I did not know I was using Tax Dollars to fund my campaign," and some very good people are going to be hurt by not understanding how everything happen.

This crosses both parties lines, is vast and pervasive, plus developed over years. People employed for years thought this was the norm.

Many never intended to form a conspiracy to break the laws. They thought they were just doing the jobs they mostly did anyway because the line between constituent service and campaigning is thin, gray, and often blurred.

These are good people caught up with complex loyalty of remaining a good employee. Yet, it is so easy to judge them as if they went to work for government to defraud on purpose. This is just not the case and furthermore all employees now know the reforms, ethical barriers, and now try to obey the lines between state work and campaigning.

Attorney General Corbett and his Staff can be far more effective in recognizing these elements of governmental, political, and caucus’s jobs. It can comeback on any employee almost anytime even if he becomes Governor.

Consequently, there is no cover up here, once all the investigations are over a clear picture will be seen, and then options on how to resolve the findings can be created in the best interest of the government, treasury, and justice.

We are going to lynch a few to scare the many when this entire situation can be determined with common sense settlements for the commonwealth recompense.

Moreover, the investigation itself ha sstopped many sloppy, questionable, and wrong practices.

Anonymous said...

I fear we are on an abyss, therefore I will pray to my Church of the United Brethren in Christ as absorbed by United Methodist Church.

It is tough to be completely honest in office at all times, the system itself has seductions that become mistresses, that lead to eventual downfall, when we are stolid in our dealings with people lives.

Jesus taught that we all make mistakes, and we should forgive ourselves when we do something hard to forget out of our zeal to change things for the better, but got blinded in that quest.

This applies to Republicans and Democrats in all offices and walks in life. We all wish to be perfect but in the end, even this goal can serve to undermine oneself, if evenhandedness empathized, is not served!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but attacking DeWesse and claiming he is working with Corbett or Republicans is just the kind of information that plays or pays into the hands of anyone seeking to grab future power.

DeWesse is history now, as Democratic Whip he is to the marching orders of those elected above him. There is no deal he can cut at anytime anyway, that kind of power is illusion, wrapped into am enigma, with no footprints since it never existed.

It is not bout DeWesse at all. This is a total subterfuge to make Democrats fight among themselves, turn each other in for crimes that never had intent, and in the end the lost of effective Democratic leadership and their agenda.

More importantly, it is to reverse the slide of Pennsylvania from a solid Democratic Blue State to a start of becoming a Republican Red State just like under President Reagan. Along with the break up of the Rendell Republican Montgomery Alliance with Philadelphia that can elect anyone statewide with just 6 to 7 counties against the remaining 59 or 60.

As long as Democrats keep infighting, point fingers at each other, and turn each other in over alleged crimes clearly, where Republicans doing the same thing had time to cover up, as well as maybe providing one scapegoat in Pretzel alleged misdeeds.

Well, in the words of President Reagan, “There You Go Again,” claiming the truth is being found, when they very well know the truth is at the bottom of a bottomless pit.

It is more about a political plan, agenda, and not reforming government at all! Just changing the leaderships so new leaders can be manipulated for the exclusive elites looking for disassociations from former and current leaders that benefited in ways to avoid any investigations. I mean did Senator Fumo really just do all those favors for himself? Follow the state money then you know where some blame is hiding.

The time is to stick together and start looking and gathering information showing much that was done, was in both parties, and any attempt to hang one, will comeback and poison the other.

Meanwhile, all Defense Lawyers should be working together instead of being separated, it is harder to carve up one large bird, than to carve up it piecemeal for selfish fears. Stay together, seek out evidence in the other party, and then ask why it is not being targeted?

No fundraising operation is ever clean and run the right way at all times, the rules are such so violations can be found for the future anytime, and that goes for every elected office not just the PA House and Senate.

Anonymous said...

paIf you ever saw Lawyers being grilled in congress or under oath, you are amazed how they cannot remember their own ways of protecting themselves.

The same thing for Investigators, once Investigator’s Investigations are subject to overview and inquiry, it is amazing how fast they fall apart, and they start worrying about themselves more than the investigation.

Rules of Professional responsibilities are found to be violated, the appearance of impropriety are found that result in disgrace and disbarment, and informants crop up as informed sources to newspapers looking to make a splashing headline.

This is why, a proper investigation had better be going on, and not just a political agenda for the future. Blowback knows no safety and mighty Sheep Dogs with their own fleas that went after sheep become hunted like lambs for sacrifice and end up at the very least with lime disease that afflicts for a lifetime.

Only equality of conscious can be ones guide and make sure deception is not in your own head in the name of self-righteousness that is blinding one’s judgment, and keep in mind people lives, careers, and reputations are at stake too.

Anonymous said...

What I cannot understand is how Senator Fumo’s #2 Lawmaker in Senator Gerald LaValle was Chairman in charge of the Non-Profit titled Beaver Initiative for Growth (B.I.G.) but only Mike Veon and Rosepink were indicted?

I mean if anyone is looking to where Attorney Corbett has made a deal, why has anyone not ask him about Senator LaValle campaigns and fundraisers, and work on state time?

Is Senator LaValle a secret State Witness with Immunity as his own wife Darla awaits her fate over alleged milking of the United Way for $122,000 to oversee her sister and cousin as indicted by Corbett.

Does Senator LaValle has Federal Witness Protection for the information he gave up on Senator Fumo alleged dealings and now convictions without being called to testify?

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. DeWeese is a boyscout. That's why he's survived the scrutiny. It's ridiculous to assert the Republican AG wouldn't take down the then Democratic House Majority Leader if he could have.

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion; there are very few Boy scouts in Harrisburg.

Campaigns and Commonwealth work did get sloppy, but very few deserve prosecution.

These people worked for the people on short pay and long hours.

But if this website is correct, it cannot explain how DeWesse can make Corbett a Governor?

Nobody has that kind of power in Harrisburg! Maybe some Banks in New York using the Pennsylvania Society, but no one politician can make Corbett Governor, especially DeWesse!