Thursday, July 23, 2009


Nobody cares if you do it.

Nobody cares if you get "caught."

They only care if you get indicted.

While the 31-month-and-counting Bonusgate saga holds many lessons for Capitol denizens, the public reaction to Mike Veon's ill-fated motion to dismiss the case based on "selective prosecution" has taught one of the most interesting.

The judge denied the motion, saying not that Veon wasn't singled out, but that singling him out isn't illegal. C'est la vie. This isn't a lesson in the law.

In support of his motion, Veon filed hundreds of pages of evidence, which he obtained from prosecutors through the discovery process, showing other lawmakers and staff aides did what Veon and others are indicted for doing.

These "revelations" were greeted by press and public alike - the same press and public clamoring for Veon to be hanged from the highest tree - with a collective yawn.

Are there consequences - and we're not talking about indictment - for doing what Veon did? Only if you're Veon.

The evidence shows that - among other, more chilling misdeeds - Bill DeWeese approved bonuses for political work and used a state-funded contractor to campaign. Veon and others face multiple felony charges - not for similar activities, but for these very bonuses and this very contractor. Has DeWeese been drummed out of his leadership position? Has he faced the outrage of his colleagues? Has he endured even a single negative editorial from his hometown newspaper (whose former editorial page editor now receives a state paycheck to sing DeWeese's praises)? He did it. He got "caught." But he didn't get indicted. So, who cares?

The evidence shows that Revenue Secretary Steve Stetler, while running the House Democratic Campaign Committee, used legislative staffers to conduct opposition research. Veon and others face multiple felonies - not for similar activities, but for this very opposition research. Has Stetler been asked to resign? Have his colleagues denounced him? Has Gene Stilp floated his giant inflatable pink pig outside Stetler's office? He did it. He got "caught." But he didn't get indicted. So, who cares?

Veon's motion included evidence that Sen. David Argall, while a House member, held political meetings in his district office and kept nominating petitions on hand for constituents to sign when they visited the office, seeking his assistance. According to the documents: Argall and Reps. Merle Philips, Dick Hess, Mario Civera, Paul Clymer, Richart Geist and Mike Turzai collected full per diems while using their contingency accounts to purchase meals. Geist and Rep. Nick Micozzi accepted campaign contributions in their state offices. Rep. Dan Frankel supervised staff coordinating political work with a state contractor. Dozens of other staff and members engaged in political work using state resources and on state time.

Pink pigs? Public denouncements? Indignant editorials? Shunned by colleagues? Demands for resignations? Nope. They did it. They got "caught." But they didn't get indicted. So, who cares?

Months ago, when evidence of DeWeese's complicity first came to light, editorial writers across the state seemed convinced that his indictment was imminent. They didn't seem to realize that, although they were learning of this evidence for the first time, Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett had been aware of it for more than a year. When the indictment failed to materialize, were they outraged? They're not even curious.

Corbett isn't the only one with double standards. As this is CasablancaPA, we'll just say we're shocked - shocked - to find that hypocrisy is going on all over the state.


Anonymous said...


"Are there consequences for doing what Veon did? Only if you're Veon."

Or Cott. (Or Ramaley, Manzo, Manzo, Foreman, LaGrotta, Habay etc...)

Aw... Is poor widdle Mike feewing picked on? Did him forget at least a dozen other people charged with similar crimes? Does he need someone to kiss his boo-boos?

Hey Mike, rather than waiting for the pity party that isn't coming, why not change your plea to guilty and testify?

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferrai posted, "Has DeWeese been drummed out of his leadership position? Has he faced the outrage of his colleagues? Has he endured even a single negative editorial from his hometown newspaper (whose former editorial page editor now receives a state paycheck to sing DeWeese's praises)? He did it. He got "caught." But he didn't get indicted. So, who cares?"

I and others care that the right things will be done, and why I support your website to discuss what needs to be done, but all of us have to be fair at all times.

For example, the Court has ruled, that Veon’s Defense of Selective Prosecutions are not valid, and one cannot erase his alleged charges by trying to use a magic show of selective unproven allegations that others did the same thing. Especially when on the facts, many of the citations, newspaper articles, and lack of evidence pales in comparison to the Testimony given by Personal Admissions and Guilty Pleading staffers that have corroborated such actions.

Bill DeWeese had nothing to do with what Veon was doing and this posting blaming him for all the wretchedness of others now charged or about to be charged, and demanding DeWeese be charged is simply incorrect, unjust, out-and-out lies, and smacks of pique.

It is tricky to ask for fairness when you do not put into practice towards others.

Bill DeWeese as the Former Majority Leader did the right thing and is a “Symbol of Justice” of what a Public Official should do when confronted with unknown wrongdoings.

DeWeese was obligated to protect the Caucus and all its Members by bringing in Independent Former Inspector General to investigate what happen. This included doing the right thing to make an agreement with the Attorney General Office, in order to protect the HDC Members non-illegal email subject matter with Attorney Client Privileges.

Now compared that to Majority Leader Todd Eachus bringing in Former Senator Fumo’s Former Law Firm, Dilworth Paxson a Law Firm that benefited from Fumo’s employ that demanded all HDC members have no Attorney Client Privileges. I submit allegations against DeWeese do not make sense to any further extent.

At the same time, attacks on Tom Corbett making a deal with Bill DeWeese to make him Governor do not hold water either anymore. DeWeese never had such power and is not Majority Leader any longer.

As a result, of CasablancaPA prior claims are we to assume that Todd Eachus as Majority Leader has this power and is going to make Tom Corbett Governor to save himself from Indictments? If we have to believe your blogs do we not have to question them when they cannot stand up to rightful analysis to be consistent from the beginning?

Now that Mike Veon’s Lawyers have tried to point suspected election campaign errors towards other Legislators, you praise such actions even though rejected by a Court Of Law and blame DeWeese and no one else.

If you want fairness demand it by practicing it yourself first and foremost, and remember Manzo, Foreman, and Lavelle along with LaGrotta admitted to their crimes in an open court of law before the public, and they are admissions of crimes not allegations.

They and now possibly Mike Veon if he cuts a deal are the ones that are not just pointing at you but outright saying it before Grand Juries. I can sympathize with your plight, tough situation, and feelings of unfairness you did nothing wrong, but it cannot be justified by blaming others either.

Especially at only one legislator that had to do the right thing for the Caucus and Commonwealth, in Bill DeWeese.

Signor Ferrari said...

Signor Ferrari accuses no one of anything; we know only what we read in the newspapers and court documents. And what is in the court documents came directly from DeWeese himself. If he doesn't like what is in them, he should remember that it was he who turned them over to prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and make fun at Mike Veon, Ramley, Manzo, Foreman, LaGrotta and Habay all you want, which is your right as an American Citizens.

But even Tom Corbett and his Staff will do the right thing after all investigations will be completed.

These people are not harden criminals and deserve a proper defense and are allow to decide on their own what fights or fates they want to employ in their self-defense.

Mocking people under duress is not right either, and they have earned the right to be innocent before being proven guilty.

If you ever met these people, you would understand they are much like all of us, and they cared very much about doing good public service.

Many did not even know they were breaking any laws either and I know none of them would wish upon you what they are going through now.

Beware, God can make dying into living, and turn losing into winning. We must storm hearts not walls!

Anonymous said...

"Go ahead and make fun at Mike Veon, Ramley, Manzo, Foreman, LaGrotta and Habay all you want, which is your right as an American Citizens."

Thanks, but I was only mocking Mike (aka. Signore Ferrari) for the "woe is me and only me" post. Lots of other people have been caught up in this, not just Veon, so the idea that they are only going after him is pretty self-centered.

Veon is absolutely entitled to a defense, but since his defense so far is based on "other people also did these illegal things", I have a hard time believing that he should be let go.

What I haven't heard yet in his defense or on this blog is ANY sort of repent or even comprehension of why his actions were wrong.

Signor Ferrari said...

Anonymous 1:20 has CasablancaPA confused with the Oprah show.

The Bonusgate trial has not yet begun. We trust that Veon and the other defendants will present their defense in the appropriate venue.

Here at CasablancaPA, we are focused - apparently alone in all the world - upon critiquing the investigation itself.

Anonymous said...

From what I read on casablancapa, you seem to just want more democRATS to go to jail.

Lose elections.

Lose majority.

And to think you guys and gals were once paid to elect democRATS.

Shame on the bunch of you.

When you get out of jail, ask republicans for jobs and do their party what you did to our party.

Anonymous said...

From the CasablancaPA Weather Center:
Ir rained today, so blame Bill DeWeese!
It didn't rain today, so blame Tom Corbett!

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that the CasablancaPA brain trust had a very bad day at the office Wednesday, thus the grousing of this post.

Here's the cause of their angst, as chronicled by Associated Press writer Mark Scolforo:

"(Dauphin County Court Judge Richard) Lewis denied requests to dismiss the case based on selective prosecution or prosecutorial misconduct and invalidated defense subpoenas seeking testimony from, among others, some senior and high-ranking legislators.
"He also declined to move the case out of Harrisburg and refused to order prosecutors to produce certain additional material."

That's 0-for-4. Not a very good percentage. But maybe if you blog about it enough, you'll get the judge to change his mind.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that so many people are missing the point that Corbett chose people to go after, based on the hand-picked evidence and people he got as the news has reported from DeWeese, and brought in the people who would help him build his case. The claim of following the evidence where it leads appears to not hold water in this case.

Now maybe that's the standard strategy for how all cases/people are prosecuted. But the defense has the right and, one would assume from standard defense strategy, the responsibility to bring to light the irregularities of how this case has been prosecuted to date.

Perhaps we'll see more indictments this year, one would hope.

A Democrat calling his party DemocRATS is neither a Democrat or a nice human being.

Anonymous said...

"A Democrat calling his party DemocRATS is neither a Democrat or a nice human being."

I agree with Anonymous, one can become emotional but America is built on a Two Party System. I think the Republicans are loving this Democratic in-fighting because they are in-fighting as well, but not so public. As all political parties all over the world do everyday.

However, calling for more indictments while promoting the right to defend oneself, along with blaming one person for all of it, is not fair by any means.

If you want fairness, where is your fair-mindedness? All you are doing is making a quick judgment that others are as guilty at the very time you call for fairness for others.

I do agree with you that Democrats have much to be proud of and respect should be given to both parties, not name-calling.

Anyone that cares about our system of government should understand no one wanted this to happen to anyone.

Mike Veon, Sean Ramley, and all of the defendants along with Tom Corbett and his prosecutors have been placed in almost impossible tough positions.

One must enforce the laws and others must defend themselves from unfair accusations.

I have advocated an alternative solution because I do feel there were more mistakes made more than any criminal intended theft, conflicts of interests, and misuse of public funds.

Plus, even with admitted forgotten or lapses of ethical behavior, such funds can be repaid without criminal prosecutions and a reprimand to avoid such practices again.

All I know is, the bitterness that developed between Republicans and Democrats really got out of control over majorities and votes of power from what I read since the 1990's and grew almost every election.

I also know the in-fighting with anyone during a time of crisis, is not worth the time either.

Both parties should be coming together to resolve these cases and their own causes they have passion on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania.

Right now, only the cynics of government are winning. It is time for good people devoted to public service to come together, be civil to each other.

Signor Ferrari said...

Do you various Anonymouses have your blogs confused? No one here has called for anyone to be indicted.

Anonymous said...

I have read many articles here, and there is a call for DeWeese to be indicted.

It is written with glee from the authors and post links claiming he has hidden files, made deals with AG Office, thrown others the Bus, and did what all others did.

And that is patently UNTRUE and they know it.

They blame just DeWeese and excuse the actions of everyone else, and in reality, that is just unfair.

At the same time, I support those that have been indicted to be handle with fairness since many did not know they were breaking the laws and it happen in both parties.

I respect and admire all of them. But one cannot ask for fairness if he does not give it to others.

DeWeese did not start this whole mess and that is fact.

Once DeWeese learned of it, he did what was necessary to protect his own office, the HDC, and Other Members, and did ask all staffs to cooperate with any investigation.

DeWeese did it by finding out what happen by bringing in his own Independent Investigator, and refused a cover up that would have never worked anyway.

Fumo caused his own problems not DeWeese. LaGrotta hired his sisters and relative to do work that his staff could do, and a staff member turned him in to AG for an Investigation, not DeWeese.

Veon with noble ambition worked on his own running many tasks with a superb staff, someone else called for an Investigation, not DeWeese.

Todd Eachus another Member worked on the Re-elections too, saying he did not know what Veon was doing, Senator LaValle too. So, why blame just DeWeese that took action to find out what happen?

In my opinion, both in the Republican and Democratic Parties in Harrisburg, people got comfortable and complacent, and Develop poor practices from each of their own weaknesses, like all of us have done one day or another.

What I do find unfair too, is that all of them have had to wit far too long and only one party has been publicly humiliated right now.

I hope all of this goes away quickly, and I hope the best all allegations are unfounded as to criminal intent.

But I will not expand injustice by trying to include others such as DeWeese, it is just wrong, in my opinion.

Democrats should be working together in my opinion, as Republicans and Government Haters call us names, as pointed out above. This website does not do that, it selects Democrats for slaughter and praises others for character they have not displayed.

Yet, I am with the Defendants and demand fair justice and will stay by them too.

Signor Ferrari said...

Although we admit we would greet Bill DeWeese's indictment with peals of deserved laughter, we have not, in fact, called for such. Indeed, convinced as we are that he has struck a deal for immunity -as far as these matters at the heart of "Bonusgate" are concerned - calling for his indictment would be an exercise in futility, would it not?

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you all in all honesty, the more I read in the grand jury results, newspapers, blogs, and here.

The more I am starting to conclude that Bill DeWeese was being set up for defeat by the insiders running the campaigns.

If DeWeese is not trounced as planned, DeWesse would by being tagged for all the blame.

I do not know who wanted him out, but so many things were kept from him based on the Grand Juries, by so many people knowing how to manipulate the system (Not A Crime In My Opinion But Not Fair-Minded Either).

Moreover, when you add up all these blogs against DeWeese and Democrats, DeWeese seems to be the target not anyone else.

When I am puzzled and cannot know what to believe anymore, I usually turn to the famous song, “Who Will Answer” by Ed Ames:

If The Soul Is Darkened
By A Fear It Cannot Name
If The Mind Is Baffled
When The Rules Don't Fit The Game
Who Will Answer?, Who Will Answer?, Who Will Answer?
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

I am just confused now, and if my sense of fairness is true, it shall not, will not, and cannot work out by going after fellow Democrats. Unless we are all so sure of the truth, then the entire process is in trouble.

Sorry, I am an advocate for all of you and all Democrats in the Caucus, but Democrats have to stay together. If not, The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is going to have a Purposeless Process Of Political Suicide.

Think hard about that before anyone else is attacked within the HDC.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Bill was being set up. It's probably more a case of people trying to make sense of why he would be so vicious in his indictment of the 12 indicted former legislators and staff.

In the beginning he was really harsh and unforgiving of them, shouting his innocence from the rooftops. Several months later, after potential evidence of his own possible involvement came out, he softened his tone, saying he made mistakes.

Bringing in an inspector general and being a symbol of justice are really good and right things, as long as the intention was to find out, rathern than find others.

There are too many unanswered questions. Speculation, fear and anger are all anyone has right now. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I think he did the right thing too, and anger does come when it can reflect on you, but somethings were unknown to many too.

All I do know is, I understand how someone can feel when doing their jobs all these years, then all of sudden they are called on the carpet for it, then arrested, then perp walked.

I just feel it looks so unfair or unbalanced, but the AG and Leadership in both parties has to deal with it.

I just hope it can all work out fairly, these are good people, with some faults like all of us, but not harden intentional criminals, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

A little bird is tweeting that you've suddenly become selective in what comments you'll clear for posting (people should know that it's not automatic; as the site administrator, you have the ability to read each one and approve it for the web).
What's the matter? Is it getting too hot in the CasablancaPA kitchen?

Anonymous said...

You mean the little bird underneath the comment section? It's been there since this blog went live. That's pretty standard for all blogs, and the moderation language is likely the default language.

Is this moron number one? Put moron number two on the phone. Now that's a movie quote!

Anonymous said...

I adore beautiful birds, and there are many birds whose feathers are just too beautiful to ever cage...such as the Defendants!