Thursday, August 20, 2009
PAINTED INTO A CORNER
A concerted effort has begun to rescue partisan Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett from the political corner into which his bonusgate investigation has painted him.
It seems to us that Corbett or his tax-payer funded campaign aides, Brian Nutt and Kevin Harley, have been working hard to win over the editorial board of an important newspaper for a GOP gubernatorial primary candidate.
Today's Pittsburgh Tribune Review editorial "Beating Up Corbett: To What End?" emphatically defended Corbett and his investigation:
"Corbett has made great strides in his investigation and he's done an admirable job of keeping politics out of it."
We know the Tribune-Review is the official GOP party organ in Pennsylvania, but this stretches even its editorial page's credibilty.
How does Colin McNickol, the Trib's editorial page editor, or anyone else know whether or not "great strides" have been made? Has he or someone else at the Tribune-Review been talking with someone in Corbett's office/campaign?
Because without some special (and illegally provided) information from Corbett or his investigators, the fact no one has been charged with bonusgate related charges in over a year doesn't sound like any "strides" have been made by Corbett and his team.
This week, the message from the Corbett campaign has taken an abrupt turn.
Here is Corbett in February of this year:
“I am shocked at the cost of what it takes to run the legislature, and when we get through what we’re doing right now and we make announcements, I think it will shock the conscience of people.” – KYW Radio February 19, 2009
Compare that with his comments Monday night at a fundraiser for his campaign in Williamsport:
"Corbett, who has come under criticism for failing to prosecute Republicans while going after House Democrats in the so-called 'Bonusgate Scandal,' said he never promised to pursue members of his own party. 'What I have vowed to do is complete the investigation,' he said. 'I'm not worrying about the issue of partisanship.'" -- Williamsport Gazette August 18, 2009
Finally, Gerlach's attack on Corbett for concurrently conducting his bonusgate investigation while running for governor didn't elicit the normal response from Corbett's team.
By now, we've all grown used to the pap from Corbett or Harley or Nutt assuring us that the investigation is ongoing and they expect more arrests. Here is a typical statement:
"The overall investigation is continuing, and the attorney general has said from the very beginning that he anticipates more arrests coming in this case." – Kevin Harley to the Patriot News June, 11, 2009
Following the Gerlach attack on Wednesday, Brian Nutt couldn't even muster up "the investigation is continuing" and didn't come near to saying there are anticipated arrests.
It is highly unlikely that Corbett will ignore all the evidence and not bring charges against Republicans.
But the signs this week are that Corbett is beginning to distance himself from his earlier promises and beginning to set the stage for some less than "shocking" indictments.