Gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's investigation continues to stumble into serious ethical and, most likely, illegal territory.
In September of 2008 while Stetler was under an active investigation by Corbett's vaunted "professional" investigators, he received a campaign solicitation from Corbett's campaign.
Here is Stetler's attorney brandishing the letter following yesterday's arraignment of the latest bonusgate indictees:
However, this isn't the complete story. In July of 2008, Corbett allowed Stetler to ignore a grand jury subpoena (Pittsburgh Tribune Review 5/2/09)
It is quite possible that Corbett let Stetler off the hook for the failed grand jury appearance, then provided Stetler a subtle avenue to express some appreciation that Stetler failed to recognize consequently resulting in his being indicted. After all, Stetler never did contribute to Corbett in 2008.
Far-fetched? We would agree except this isn't the only instance of a spurned quid pro quo resulting in an indictment by Corbett.
Last month, Chris Brennan with the Philadelphia Daily News reported how Corbett, while actively investigating John Perzel, had a cozy meeting with Perzel where Corbett's campaign was discussed. (Daily News 11/12/09)
Many folks who are privy to the what was really discussed in this meeting say Perzel remained uncommitted (at best) to a Corbett gubernatorial bid. And -- surprise, surprise -- two weeks later Corbett launches into the investigation that results in Perzel's arrest. (Associated Press 10/23/07)
This is a shocking and troubling pattern from Corbett. It should give his "professional investigators" pause. Certainly, the news that Corbett and his campaign manager, Brian Nutt, met with Perzel while an active investigation was under way should raise serious red flags with the top two "professional" investigators, Frank Fina and Jim Reeder.
Rather, Reeder's response to the troubling revelation that Corbett was soliciting campaign contributions from a major target of Reeder's own investigative efforts was an arrogant, non-chalant answer:
"Reeder said the letter was probably authentic...'I don't know, I'm not part of Mr. Corbett's campaign. It surprises me that the response of defense counsel is not what this guy did, but look over here, look over here, here's something shiny...And if Mr. Lock thinks he can distract the jury with something shiny, well, so be it.'" (York Daily Record 12/16/09)We're not really surprised by Reeder's response. He is after all one of Corbett's "professional investigators" who let Corbett's staunch political ally, York County DA Stan Rebert, walk away unharmed from very potent and well-documented ethical misconduct charges.
Oh, and Reeder worked in Rebert's office while all this illegal activity was occuring. We wonder how much campaign work Reeder did on the York County taxpayer's dime.
Shiny? Not quite. That fundraising letter isn't a shiny distraction, rather it is a dirty, smarmy, stinking smear on the validity and ethics of Corbett's investigation.