Monday, September 28, 2009


As we've watched Corbett's wide-ranging investigation of the state legislature unfold, it has been curious to us how partisan Republican Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett has hammered an inordinate number of "little fish" while leaving unscathed some significant "big fish."

This applies to not only who Corbett has chosen to arrest, but also to who Corbett turned the wrath of his investigators on.

We've looked around the country at other public corruption investigations and we can find no other example where a prosecutor has indicted mainly staff people instead of elected officials.

Zero. None.

It's just unheard of for a prosecutor to hold staff people singularly responsible while absolving the elected officials they worked for. Rather, indicting staff people is the first step toward snagging their culpable supervisors and bosses.

In the aftermath of Corbett's first round of arrests, Pennsylvania's chattering class editorialized and gossiped among themselves that this was to be the pattern with bonusgate. (Tribune Review 8/10/08)

Prime examples of this phenomena are the free-passes Corbett has given Secretary of Revenue Steve Stetler, Rep. Bill DeWeese and Majority Leader Todd Eachus.

Discovery documents included in the Veon pre-trial motions show that Corbett possessed thousands of emails and hours of testimony clearly implicating them. Yet, none of the three have been subpoenaed. Shockingly, they haven't even been interviewed by Corbett's investigators.

Instead, nearly all of Stetler's, DeWeese's and Eachus' staff have been dragged before the Grand Jury or, in the case of the Manzo family, arrested.

Read the testimony and documents for Eachus here, Stetler here and DeWeese here. How does Rachel Manzo wind up in handcuffs, but not her supervisor Eachus?

A more recent example of Corbett's propensity to go after only little fish comes from our close reading of Bill Zlatos' investigative reporting in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review covering the excessive salary and retirement package ($4 million!) awarded to Regis Champ, the CEO of the non-profit Allegheny Valley School. (Tribune Review 8/30/09)

The AVS is best known for being the beneficiary of the royalties from the sale of Steelers "Terrible Towels." However, the bulk of the funding for AVS comes from funds distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and Zlatos' work has prompted DPW to audit AVS and its parent company Northwestern Human Services. (Tribune Review 9/12/09)

Champ's salary and retirement clearly exceeds most standards of compensation for similar non-profits. Kevin Casey, head of DPW's Office of Developmental Programs, was visibly perterbed by it saying, "Frankly, I was not happy with it. I've never heard of anything of that size in 40 years."

Plus, it appears that Champ being able to cash in on all his unused sick leave ($600,000!) was a special perk that other AVS employees were never allowed. (Tribune Review 9/4/09)

Very suspicious! In fact, Zlatos made a call to Corbett to see if his office was going to investigate. (Tribune Reveiw 9/15/09)

Corbett's answer? An anemic statement that Corbett is "concerned."

This concern hasn't translated into even the most perfuctory investigation according to NHS's spokesperson -- "we're not aware of the concerns stated by the Attorney General's Office."

Here at CasablancaPA, we're not surprised by Corbett's inaction even though DPW has found the compensation packages of AVS and NHS worthy of an audit.

Any criminal investigation of AVS's and NHS's compensation packages would necessitate taking a long, hard look at how NHS's CEO, former Republican State Senator Joe Rocks, has been using tax-payer dollars from DPW to pay his own half a million dollar yearly salary.

Besides being a Republican, Rocks is also a major contributor and fundraiser for Corbett's campaigns -- over $6,500 directly and thousands more through fundraising among NHS employees and associates. See an itemized list here.

Rocks is definitely a big fish and we predict Corbett will never drag him or any of NHS's board into a grand jury.

However, Corbett is only interested in excessive non-profit compensation packages if the investigation doesn't include any big fish and will further his ability to score public relations coups for his gubernatorial ambitions without hurting his fundraising.

Case in point is the criminal investigation and charges brought against Darla LaValle last year.

LaValle was charged on multiple criminal counts because as Executive Director of the Voluntary Action Center she "inflated her salary and pension" and "denied benefits to its employees." (Post-Gazette 8/15/08)

This same activity Champ and Rocks are being audited for by DPW...but no investigation of those two by Corbett?

Darla LaValle is definitely a small fish...and a Democrat...and arresting her would never hurt Corbett's fundraising.

Most importantly for Corbett, Darla LaValle is the wife of former State Senator Jerry LaValle, a key witness for Corbett against Mike Veon in the Beaver Initiative for Growth criminal case.

What better way to get Sen. LaValle to say just about anything a prosecutor could ever want, than to put the squeeze on him through his wife?

The squeeze was grossly transparent in Sen. LaValle's testimony to the Grand Jury where conveniently feigned complete ignorance and then in the second BIG preliminary hearing where under oath he acted like a senile trick-pony for Corbett. (Tribune-Review 9/4/09)

So, after dutifully providing just the right testimony to Corbett, it isn't surprising for CasablancaPA to hear the rampant rumors in Beaver County that the Senator's wife is now being recommended for ARD by Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter.

Earlier this year, Corbett told the Tribune-Review that "We are really taking a look at how money comes out of the (state) budget and goes into nonprofits." (Tribune-Review 3/26/09)

Then, during a June 10, 2009 PCN call-in program Corbett said, "So many times our investigations, we receive initial information from newspaper accounts, from television accounts and then we start developing witnesses and continue working our way through an investigation."

Since Corbett took office in 2005, there have been multiple reports of shady non-profit dealings all over the state. All of them involving some big fish.

To name a few:

State Rep. Nick Micozzie's Clifton Heights Economic Corp.

Former Representative Gene McGill's Historic Property Preservation Institute

State Rep. John Perzel's Mayfair Community Development Corporation and his 8001 Torresdale Corporation

US Senator Rick Santorum's Operation Good Neighbor

After announcing charges against Mike Veon related to the Beaver Initiative for Growth, Corbett told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette "This is far from a completed investigation."

Corbett is not being truthful.

What he should have said was that "This is far from a completed investigation as long as it doesn't require me to indict any big fish and the splash of the possible indictments keeps me in the news without hurting my fundraising."

Big fish like Rocks and Champ who give big money or are in positions of authority have nothing to fear from Corbett.

When you consider the entirety of Corbett's wide-ranging investigation of the legislature, the same goes for the big fish like Perzel, Sen. Chip Brightbill, Sen. Bob Jubelirer, Mike Long, Brian Preski, DeWeese, Eachus, Rep. Jennifer Mann, Rep. Dan Frankel, Rep. Joe Preston and Stetler.

It is the little fish that Corbett likes to cast his net for and hassle --Darla LaValle, PJ LaValle, Rachel Manzo, Brett Cott, Earl Mosely, Scott and Jennifer Brubaker, Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, Dan Wiedemer, Karen Steiner, Steve Keefer, Paul Martz, Melissa Lewis, Steve Webb, Eric Webb, David Bliss, Bob Caton, Barb Grill -- they are easier to scare and have no effect or political blowback on the fundraising for his gubernatorial ambitions.

The strangest and most suspicious part is how Corbett has yet to use the little fish as "bait" to get the big fish (other than Veon.)

Arrest Mike Manzo, but not DeWeese?

Arrest Rachel Manzo, but not Eachus?

Grant Dan Wiedemer immunity, but don't arrest Stetler?

Arrest PJ LaValle, but not Keith McCall?

We predict this pattern will continue when Corbett finally gets around to making his "shocking" indictments of Republicans.

When asked by the Gettysburg Times about how his Bonusgate investigation has yet to snag a single Republican, Corbett said “I’m not going to run away from tough decisions." (Gettysburg Times 9/24/09)

We believe Corbett. He hasn't run away from the tough decision on whether or not to conduct an investigation resulting in arresting all the fish. He just made the wrong decision and decided to let all the big fish go.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Partisan Republican Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett has said over and over and over that he wants there to be no politics involved in his bonusgate investigation.

His tax-payer funded campaign manager, Brian Nutt, recently told Laura Vescey with the Patriot News as much, "As Tom said, [the bonusgate investigation] is very complex and his goal was to take the politics out of it." (Patriot News 9/15/09)

So, what does the Corbett campaign for governor do next?

They write an endorsement statement from former Republican Governor Dick Thornburgh that drags the bonusgate investigation directly into the campaign:

"Tom has earned my deepest respect for the manner in which has handled investigations into corruption in Pennsylvania...Tom Corbett has clearly demonstrated that he is conducting his investigations thoroughly and fairly."

It is kind of sad to think that Thornburgh has gotten so old and senile as to sign onto this statement that Corbett's staff (probably tax-payer funded flak Kevin Harley) gave him.

We say that Thornburgh must be losing his faculties because we're not sure how arresting 12 Democrats without making a single Republican arrest for over a year later can be any kind of a "demonstration" of a "thorough" and "fair" investigation.

Of course, Thornburgh is susceptible to being punked, so we shouldn't be surprised that he signed off on the laughable statement.

Friday, September 25, 2009


We hereby declare a moratorium on flying pink ponies and poker-playing amphibious gophers.

What do you mean it's ridiculous to declare a moratorium on things that couldn't possibly happen anyway? Tom Corbett did it.

As another Election Day approaches, the Capitol press corps is - apparently without irony - dutifully reporting that Corbett will not impose another "moratorium" on Bonusgate charges.

You'd think it might dawn on them that more than a year has gone by without any Bonusgate charges at all. You'd think it might occur to them that whole "moratorium" thing last year was kind of a bogus smokescreen against accusations of partisanship. You'd think they might even take offense at the way they were duped, when Corbett convinced them the "other shoe" was about to drop .

You'd be wrong.

We admit we are flabbergasted. There's no question that Corbett deliberately created the false impression that charges were imminent a year ago. In some circles, deliberately creating a false impression is considered dishonest. And some circles actually frown upon dishonesty in their public officials. Not this one, apparently.

Team Corbett must laugh themselves sick daily that they're actually getting away with stunts like this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As we wait and wait and wait for Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett to announce the shocking Republican indictments of biblical proportions, Team CasablancaPA has determined, through careful deductive reasoning, another two who can be crossed off the long list of potential Republican targets.

(Another two in addition to Mike Long, that is)

Apparently cleared for flight have been Rick Santorum and Bruce Castor.

Santorum clearly intends to run for President in 2012. There is no way he would even consider such a run without very clear assurance from the Office of Attorney General that he is not under investigation for any of the following:
While all three appear to fall into the realm of activities Corbett claims to be investigating, no politician in his right mind would launch any kind of Presidential campaign if even the hint of such an investigation were looming.

Furthermore, Santorum and Corbett share the same political media strategist, John Brabender.

So cross Santorum off the list.

Corbett won't indict Castor for the simple reason that Democrat Joe Hoeffel has called for an investigation of Castor, and Hoeffel is running for Governor, too.

Castor admitted to working on his own state attorney general campaign during county business hours, and using county equipment.

Although Corbett's Bonusgate investigation focuses on identical activity among state legislators, indictment of Castor would only boost the credibility of a likely Democratic opponent for governor.

We think not.

So, although the menu of possible Republican indictments remains vast, it appears there's only so much Corbett's delicate digestion can handle.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Now that a budget deal has been reached and the public relations deck is finally clear, is this the week partisan Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate finally announces his self-described "shocking" next round of indictments?

On his gubernatorial announcement tour last week, Corbett told the Sunbury Daily Item that his bonusgate investigation is at a "critical juncture" and said, “When we make our next announcement, as I said to The Associated Press, people are going to eat their words." (Sunbury Daily Item, 9/18/09)

Oh, my! It sounds like Corbett means business!

Given his public statements in the year since he arrested Democrats alone and the nearly three years since he launched his bonusgate investigation, Corbett certainly has created enormous expectations.

Not to worry though: the rumors are rampant regarding Corbett's targets, and there has been extensive reporting on the Republicans Corbett is likely to arrest.

Here is a re-cap of some of the rumors and reporting from the last two years:

Representative Jim Marshall and Judy Jehu, along with many other Republican state legislative employees who work on campaign finance reports and petitions while on the clock.

Dozens of Republican legislators who used their contingency accounts to purchase meals while collecting per diems on the same day.

Republican legislators incuding Tom Killion, a GOP Lt. Governor hopeful, who shoveled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions through their legislative offices to the House Republican Campaign Committee.

There is former Republican Rep. Brett Feese, the current Republican House caucus chief counsel, who seems to have taken on too much outside legal work to get it all done during non-business hours.

John Hanley and the House Republican staff he supervised who spent a suspicious amount of time working for both the taxpayers and Republican candidates.

There are also the non-profit organizations run by former and current Republican State Representatives (and Rick Santorum) who used federal and state funding including WAM money to benefit themselves both personally and politically.

And, finally, there is the shenanigans by Rep. John Perzel and his former right-hand-man Brian Preski who, among other things, used the Republican House Caucus IT department for their own personal and political gain.

Indictments for these transgressions individually would hardly qualify as "shocking;" all of them together might raise an eyebrow.

If the seldom-mentioned Senate Republican staffers Mike Long and Drew Crompton (and their former bosses Sens. Bob Jubelirer and Chip Brightbill) were added to the list of potential arrests, Corbett might edge closer to the "shocking" line.

Corbett has an extensive menu of Republican misdeeds to fill up an impressive grand jury presentment. It has been long enough...time to finally place his order.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


During a campaign stop in Westmoreland County yesterday, partisan Republican Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett took a shot at the state legislature over their staffing levels.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Corbett wagged his finger at the General Assembly when he chastised them on their staffing levels:

"He said voters should watch the budget process to see whether lawmakers make any cuts. He said some high-level staffers earn more than Rendell. 'See if they reduce their staff.'"

Clearly, Corbett is referring to all the extraneous Republican House staff that has enough spare time on their hands that they can work extensively (and illegally) on campaigns.

Without a doubt, Corbett was also referring to Republican Senate staffer Drew Crompton whom the Senate could spare for six months in 2006 to work full-time for the ill-fated Swann for Governor campaign...and who got a $20,000 bonus from the taxpayers.

Corbett didn't just chide the state legislature. He also said that if elected Governor, he would lead by example:

"I can do more as governor setting an example of how things should be done than investigating what needs to be done."

Here at CasablancaPA, we're glad that Corbett will start practicing what he preaches if elected Governor because as Attorney General he has plenty of room to cut himself.

We have a couple suggestions for him. Specifically regarding some of the most glaring examples of the campaign staff Corbett has parked in his offices so the taxpayers can pay their salaries until Corbett needs them to work on his campaign efforts.

The OAG directory lists three "executive assistants" on the payroll for Corbett. Yet, two of these assistants -- Joe Murzyn and Becky Myers -- leave the office for extensive periods of time to work on Corbett's campaigns. Does Corbett need three executive assitants as Attorney General or does he need a place to park Murzyn and Myers on the tax-payers' dime between their stints of working on his campaigns?

Does Corbett really need three people to man his Legislative Affairs office or is at least one of the slots a parking place for Andrew Paris? Paris is a well-known and documented Corbett campaign operative who apparently has left to campaign once again for his boss.

The biggest parking stall at the OAG has been filled by Brian Nutt. Ostensibly the Chief-of-Staff for the entire OAG, Nutt is Corbett's full-time campaign manager who in reality has been cooling his heels with a taxpayer-funded $110,000 salary that has tided him over while waiting to run Corbett's re-election effort and now his gubernatorial campaign.

If Corbett wins the GOP gubernatorial primary, in the 36 months between January 2008 (Corbett's AG re-election year) and December 2010 Nutt -- the person Corbett chose run the day-to-day operations of the entire OAG at a six-figure salary -- will have been at the helm for only 12 of those months.

What kind of legitimate Chief-of Staff can take leave 2/3 of the time?

Corbett is a hypocrite because you can be sure that if he doesn't win the 2010 primary, Nutt's sweet no-show gig will be waiting for him at the OAG (as well as Myers', Murzyn's and Paris' parking spots.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Everyone in Harrisburg has been waiting for partisan Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett to announce his promised Republican indictments in his bonusgate investigation.

The amount of time it has taken him to investigate the Republicans and bring charges, plus the public statements from Corbett lead us to believe they will be bigger than big and huger than huge.

Let's review.

Right out of the gate, during the press conference announcing Democratic indictments in July of last year, Corbett made it clear that there would be more charges:

"Let me make this perfectly clear -- this is not the conclusion," -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 7/11/08

So, we waited a month and still nothing. But, one of Corbett's trusted career prosecutors assured us that Republicans were on their hit list:

"'It's not limited to one caucus. Not even close,' said Frank Fina, the chief of the public-corruption unit. 'Anybody who violated the law is going to get it.'" -- Patriot 8/3/08

So, we waited another month and still nothing. Instead, Corbett announced he would put off any Republican arrests until after the election due to the mountain of evidence he was looking at, but not to worry:

"It's one of those times -- I hate to say it, but I almost feel like saying, 'Trust me -- we're going to get there, and when we're finished there are going to be a lot of people with egg on their face,'"-- Lancaster Intelligencer 9/25/08

So, we waited until after the election and still nothing. Corbett reassured us all, though, and told us to wait a bit longer:

"Corbett said at a news conference Thursday that the probe will be an immediate focus of his new term. He added that he expects further charges to come out of the bonus investigation, but it could be early 2009 before that happens." -- Patriot-News 11/7/08

So, we waited three more months and still nothing. Once again, Corbett said it would happen and the Republican malfeasance was so broad and massive that it was keeping his investigators working hard:

"Whenever we're ready to announce something, whenever we've reached that critical mass, we will announce it,'' Corbett said. ''I will tell you we're very busy.'' -- Associated Press 1/21/09

So, we waited another month and still nothing. But, we were told not to worry by Corbett's taxpayer-funded campaign spokesman because all the investigators were burning the midnight oil due to all the Republican misdeeds they were investigating:

"The agents and prosecutors are putting in a tremendous amount of overtime,” said Mr. Corbett’s spokesman Kevin Harley. “It’s very, very busy.” -- Scranton Times 2/8/09

In fact, Corbett whetted everyone's appetite for how enormous his Republican indictments were going to be:

"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 2/19/09

So, we waited seven more months and still, nothing. More than two-and-a-half years have passed since the bonusgate investigation began and more than a year since only Democrats were arrested.

That brings us to last night and Corbett's gubernatorial campaign announcement gala. When asked, Corbett and his state-funded campaign manager made sure we all understood how big and imminent his long-promised Republican indictments were:

"We continue to investigate, and I know when the next round comes, I believe that complaint will go away." -- Associated Press

"We're not going to hurry this along ... When those charges are filed, you're going to see, this has been done right." -- WTAE TV

"I know when the next round of cases comes, people will understand what we've been doing."-- Post-Gazette

"These are career prosecutors, and there are things that happen that can't be rushed." -- Brian Nutt to Patriot-News

After all this time and after all this hype over how busy Corbett's investigators have been and how huge and shocking the Republican charges will be, here at CasablancaPA we believe the scope and size of the Republican grand jury presentment can now be put into the "biblical proportion" category.

We now present to you the CasablancaPA Players in a dramatic interpretation of Tom Corbett's next press conference where Corbett, Fina, Harley and Nutt discuss the promised Republican indictments that still aren't quite ready yet:

And ... scene.

Monday, September 14, 2009


1. Why haven't you indicted Bill DeWeese for his involvement in awarding bonuses for campaign work and using state resources for campaigning? Does he have an immunity deal?

2. Why were there regular and constant leaks to the media during the grand jury investigation of House Democrats, while the media has failed to report the name or position of a single witness to testify against House or Senate Republicans? Is this a result of some change of policy within your office, or simply a lack of witnesses testifying against House Republicans (like Brian Preski and John Hanley) or Senate Republicans (like Mike Long)?

3. Why was former HDCC Chairman and current Secretary of Revenue Steve Stetler allowed to ignore a subpoena to testify to the grand jury?

4. Are you investigating any non-profits linked to Republican legislators?

5. If your investigation still isn't complete after more than two-and-a-half years, how could you have known seven months ago how much money is involved in the next round of charges? How could your office have hinted more than a year ago that charges against Republicans were imminent?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Admit it, you would-be Capitol pundits and sages. You never thought it would come to this.

You were sure that Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett would redeem himself before officially declaring his candidacy.

You couldn't wait to throw it in the faces of those (pitiful few) who dared to accuse him of partisanship. Any day now, you thought, you would be vindicated for giving Corbett the benefit of the doubt. The words, "I told you so!" have been fairly bursting from your lips.

But now, we predict: silence.

You'll pretend there's absolutely nothing wrong with Corbett officially running for governor before his Bonusgate investigation is complete, even though until this very moment it was inconceivable (and yes, it does mean what we think it means).

We've seen this before.

It was inconceivable that Bill DeWeese would escape prosecution. Editorial after editorial confidently predicted his demise.

Remember this, Tribune-Review? Or this? And, don't forget this.

How about this, Post-Gazette? Or this?

We're looking at you, Patriot News.

And we haven't forgotten you, Inquirer.

Even the Morning Call got in on the act.

But when what was sure to happen didn't happen, did a single one of them raise a single question about Corbett ignoring the reams of evidence clearly implicating DeWeese? How could this be? If Pennyslvanians have to rely on the mainstream media, they may never know.

We fully expect history to repeat itself.

After all, it's not the media's place to question the actions of an elected official. We'll just go on pretending that it's perfectly normal for this investigation to take three years.

So what if Corbett's been hinting at Republican indictments for a full year? After all, he "never promised to pursue members of his own party."

However, what he has "vowed to do is complete the investigation."

We predict he really won't do that either. On Monday, it is very likely Corbett will simply assign responsibility for the case to one of those incorruptible career prosecutors upon whom he relies to keep him honest.

When you consider the Bush Department of Justice under Alberto Gonzales or the headlines from the New Jersey gubernatorial race this summer, the idea of GOP climbers like Frank Fina or Jim Reeder keeping Corbett honest is laughable. Did Reeder step in to cry foul when Corbett completely ignored all the evidence against Reeder's old boss York County DA Stan Rebert?

So, if all goes according to plan for Corbett on Monday, he will be even less accountable for the investigation than he is now, if that's even possible.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Does anyone else think the Patriot-News is starting to sound like an exasperated parent scolding a recalcitrant teenager?

Would you please take the trash out, dear? ... Seriously, take out the trash now ... Young man, if you don't take out that trash, you are grounded ... I really mean it. Grounded ... If you don't take out that trash, you are in big trouble, mister...

And on and on it goes. More than two years after the Patriot-News first questioned his partisanship, it still is warning of dire consequenses for Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett if he doesn't conclude his Bonusgate investigation "soon."

While we admire the sentiment, the Patriot-News is well aware that the time has long passed for Corbett to demonstrate a non-partisan commitment to justice.

And, as the Patriot-News demonstrates, the political consequences for having failed to do so are virtually non-existent. Every few months, a half-hearted "tsk, tsk."  Eventually, he'll throw a few token charges at a Republican scapegoat or two, all will be forgiven and forgotten, and he knows it.

Corbett has a lot of valuable tools at his disposal in his quest for the governorship: the multi-million dollar budget, enormous staff and bully pulpit of the Office of Attorney General, the backing of the influential state Republican establishment, millions of dollars in campaign contributions - much of which came from the very legislators he purports to investigate.  But truly his most valuable asset is the disheartening complacency of the Capitol press corps.

Friday, September 4, 2009


It's not often we admit to feeling sorry for Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett. But as his team trudged off to court for today's do-over hearing on Beaver Initiative for Growth, he must have shaken his head a little ruefully.

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. No matter the result of today's preliminary hearing, it's pretty far from how Corbett thought  the BIG investigation would turn out.

BIG was supposed to be his showpiece case, the one that would stand up to Meehan's prosecution of Vince Fumo. He must have realized pretty early on there wasn't much "there" there, but he knows that voters are easily fooled.

Right out of the gate, Corbett started trumpeting the "similarities between BIG and a nonprofit that former Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, raided for his personal enrichment."

And even though nothing in the charges supported the claim,  Corbett created the impression that Veon pocketed state funds for his own personal use. 

Veon paid a janitor $100 a month in state funds to clean his legislative office. Fumo misappropriated millions of dollars.

No matter how this all turns out, it's pretty comical that Corbett brought a prosecutorial butter knife to what was supposed to be a gunfight with Meehan.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Morning Call curmudgeon Paul Carpenter takes to task pretty much everyone and his brother in a column on Bonusgate today.

While almost no one in Harrisburg is spared his disdain, he singles out Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett for an extra-special slap.

"Trust me," Corbett said of his bonusgate probe. In a pig's eye.
Carpenter's mistrust of Corbett stems from his investigation of the 2005 shooting death of Easton police officer Jesse Sollman when another officer's pistol went off in police headquarters.

After a so-called grand jury probe, Corbett staged a dog and pony show press conference in the Lehigh Valley. Explaining the tricky technical details of how Renninger's pistol worked, he said there was no ''criminal negligence or recklessness.''

Carpenter, who has extensive military experience, knew Corbett's claims about the pistol were "bogus."
There was no way that pistol could fire unless it was carelessly left in a hair-trigger single-action mode or was in double-action mode, which would require a strong and deliberate pull on the trigger.There also is no way Corbett could not have known that, and there is no way that an average citizen, in circumstances identical to what happened in Easton, would not have been charged with a crime. The police establishment, however, is a politically powerful special interest group.

Carpenter called that investigation a "whitewash" and suggests that history is repeating itself with the Bonusgate probe.

Who knows what Corbett thinks he's accomplishing by dragging out his Bonusgate investigation to ridiculous lengths? But the absurd duration of it is giving Pennsylvanians an opportunity to take a good long look at Corbett and his history of allowing politics to influence investigations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


In response to partisan Repubican Attorney General Tom Corbett's comments to the Associated Press' Mark Scolforo last week, the progressive blog "Young Philly Politics" joined the chorus of those questioning Corbett's handling of the bonusgate investigation:

"At some point a prosecutor planning to run for office I think is ethicaly obligated to either hand off the investigation to less potentially politically conflicted hands or delay their larger political ambitions. I think the signs are indicating we are already well past that point."

Voices from both the left, like "Young Philly Politics" and the right like "GrassrootsPA" are commenting on how lopsided and errant Corbett's investigation has been.

How much longer will Corbett keep up his politically calculated charade of an investigation?