The Republican State Committee consists of local elected officials, large campaign contributors and individuals who are very much influenced by local elected officials and large campaign contributors.
Certainly, these committee people are very much influenced by their state legislators.
For these reasons, it is troubling that partisan Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett continues to insist that he can be both a candidate and an impartial investigator of public corruption both at the state and local level.
Last month, Corbett's GOP gubernatorial rival Congressman Jim Gerlach questioned Corbett's ability to ethically campaign for governor seeking endorsements and campaign contributions from state legislators while concurrently conducting his bonusgate investigation of the very same state legislators.
On Friday, Democratic State Party Chairman TJ Rooney questioned whether Corbett could equitably investigate Republican local elected officials and party activists while at the same time seeking their support for his gubernatorial campaign. (Centre Daily 10/3/09)
Corbett's bonusgate investigation isn't just about how and why legislative bonuses were awarded. He has made it clear that his use of statewide grand juries also includes:
- Examining non-profits that receive funds directed by legislators
- Ferreting out political campaign activity using taxpayer-funded resources
- Determining if campaign contributions may influence decisions by elected officials. (Patriot 4/2/08)
The most recent example in Centre County stretches credulity to believe that Corbett can somehow conduct a neutral criminal investigation of the office of his protege, Centre County Mike Madeira. (Centre Daily 5/13/05)
But, this is just more of the same from Corbett:
- Corbett blatantly ignored hours of sworn depositions regarding campaign activity and the theft of public funds by political ally Stan Rebert in the York County DA's office.
- Another Republican DA ally and campaign contributor, William Higgins of Bedford County, was conveniently exonerated by Corbett for allegedly raping a woman. (Altoona Mirror 2/27/09)
- McKean County Republican Commissioner Al Pingie was let off the hook for blantantly breaking campaign finance laws. (Bradford Era 11/7/07)
- Montgomery County Republican Commissioner Bruce Castor testified under oath in the Fumo trial that he used county resources for his political campaigns, yet Corbett did nothing. (Inquirer 1/29/09)
- We haven't heard a peep from Corbett regarding Crawford County Republican Treasurer Fred Wagner using his office as his re-election campaign headquarters. (Meadville Tribune 9/4/09)
- Corbett completely ignored the grossly transparent macing conducted by Bucks County Republican elected officials, particularly the very influential Deon family. (Inquirer 8/16/07)
- Republican Representative Mauree Gingrich was caught red-handed forging her petition signatures, yet Corbett refused to even investigate the matter. (Lebanon Daily News 3/20/08) And for those skeptical of Russ Diamond, even the Lebanon Daily News editorial board has looked askance at Corbett's inaction. (Lebanon Daily News 3/21/08)
Corbett's consistently blind eye doesn't just include elected officials. He has also ignored outright criminal activity by significant campaign contributors to both his campaigns and the Republican party and its candidates.
Former Erie County Republican Chairman and Corbett campaign contributor (over $2,000) John Mizner robbed his law firm. But the Republican Erie County DA refused to prosecute Mizner and so did Corbett. (Erie Times 7/27/07)
Just as egregiously, GOP uber-donor Vahan Guerghian has used his state-funded charter school as a personal piggy bank, yet there isn't a whiff of an investigation by Corbett. (Inquirer 12/30/08)
Perhaps that is becuase Guerghian has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the last two years both individually and through his Campaign for PA's Future PAC to Republican candidate committees and Republican county committees...including $10,000 to Corbett directly.
Corbett's taxpayer-funded campaign manager Brian Nutt is becoming well known for saying goofy things, but after reviewing just these few documented cases of Corbett blantantly ignoring Republican misdeeds, we think Nutt set a new standard for goofiness when he told Capitolwire recently that campaign polling results "clearly show that the families of Pennsylvania support Tom Corbett's relentless fight against corruption in Pennsylvania." (Capitolwire 9/30/09)
Or perhaps Nutt is mistaking the term "relentless" for "limp." We guess that only those who know Nutt intimately will know if he usually mixes the two up.
We do know that Corbett selectively chooses to use his authority to investigate these local Republicans. Time and again, Corbett, Nutt and the taxpayer funded flak Kevin Harley say Corbett doesn't have jurisdiction.
But, Corbett didn't have jurisdictional problems with bringing charges against former Democratic Rep. Linda Bebko-Jones for filing fraudulent petitions or to drag dozens of Penn Hills officials and employees in front his grand jury to hassel Democratic Rep. Tony DeLuca. (Tribune Review 3/24/09)
Corbett knows his chances of winning the Republican State Committee endorsement decreases if he drags committee members or those close to committee members in front of a grand jury. In the case of Guerghian, some Southeastern Pennsylvania Republican committees depend on his largess.
Gerlach and Rooney don't agree on much, but on this one point it is obvious why they both agree. Corbett making a bid for governor while supposedly policing all levels of Pennsylvania government is a joke.