Monday, March 15, 2010
COME ON IN, THE WATER'S FINE
Uninformed commentary - it's all the rage! All the cool kids are doing it, and now the Post-Gazette's Ruth Ann Daily is getting into the act.
There are so many inaccuracies, both on Daily's part and the part of her sources, we hardly know where to begin.
First of all, please point us to the portion of the week-long defense case in which any of the defendants or their lawyers argued anything close to "Sure, these guys broke the law, but only a little bit and hey, everybody's doing it." What the defense has argued is that the prosecution did not prove its case. Witness after witness testified they took their direction from Mike Manzo, Jeff Foreman or Scott Brubaker. All of whom, by the way, have admitted they broke the law and have pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, and testified in exchange for the possibility of reduced sentences.
Which leads us to Tim Potts' ludicrous argument that an acquittal for Veon and company will give lawmakers and staff free rein to campaign on state time and on the state dime. Has Potts forgotten that people have been held accountable? Do their convictions not serve as the deterrent Potts thinks lawmakers so desperately need?
We wish that, instead of trotting out some meaningless "law & order" rhetoric, Daily had actually attempted some journalism and pressed Potts on exactly what he means by "the evidence everyone has seen." We've followed the case closely and have seen an abundance of evidence and testimony that Mike Manzo and Scott Brubaker, with the blessing and cooperation of Bill DeWeese, coordinated and executed a plan to reward campaign volunteerism with bonuses, and that Jeff Foreman directed staff to campaign on state time and seek state reimbursement for their expenses. Three of the four have been held accountable, have pleaded guilty and await sentencing
If Potts is worried about allowing anyone to "get away with" anything, he should be asking Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett why DeWeese has escaped indictment in the scandal.
The idea that anyone would look to the experience of the four current defendants - who, even if they're acquitted, have lost their jobs and reputations, have seen personal relationships destroyed, and likely face years of debt for legal bills - and take that as encouragement to follow the example of Manzo, Brubaker, Foreman and DeWeese defies logic.