Monday, August 2, 2010


Not long ago, the Times-Shamrock newspaper editorial writers worked themselves into high dudgeon over the fact that allegedly crooked lawmakers have apparently learned nothing from the experiences of those gone before.

More specifically, the one gone before, the one newspaper editorial writers apparently believe is the only legislator before Mike Veon ever to be accused of using state resources for political campaigns, the one against whose experiences all others must be judged, Jeff Habay.

"What will it take?" the flabbergasted editors fume. "Given [legislators'] failure to [mandate transparency] after Habay's conviction, it's possible that they are incapable of learning."

While we're no fan of the legislature, they're smarter than the Times-Shamrock editors give them credit for being. Of course they've learned from the experiences of those who've gone before.

What did we learn from the experiences of James Lynch, whose Ethics Commission decision followed closely on the heels of Habay's, and who was found to have engaged in identical conduct? Instead of a criminal investigation and subsequent conviction, Lynch faced only a fine of less than $5,400.

See, most legislators know - better than the Times-Shamrock editors know - that an outcome like Habay's is exceedingly rare. And an outcome like Veon's requires a perfect storm of lingering public outrage over the 2005 pay raise vote, the unmatched cravenness of a former Majority Leader trying to divert an investigation and the shameless political opportunism of an Attorney General running for Governor.

The reality of what a legislator risks by campaigning on the public dime is a lot closer to Lynch than to Veon or even Habay.

Even Tom Corbett ... knows it.


Anonymous said...

Hey, it looks like Deweese is going to trial.

So I guess you'll be posting his defense fund info now.

Maybe you should give him a guest column, so that he can explain why your corruption was OK because everybody was corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the Orie sisters too. It is so hypocritical of DA Zapalla to go after them because they are republicans. Selective prosecution! All for politics!

You need to have their defense fund listed there too. People need to know about these injustices, before more innocent lawmakers are charged for doing the same thing everyone else is doing!

The Lizard said...

Tom Corbett should resign as Attorney General NOW. There is absolutely no way at all that he can continue to campaign for governor without infringing on the taxpayer dollar, whether it is casual campaigning while he is attending a meeting, or doing attorney general business while he is campaigning. His staff at the AG's office and his campaign staff are absolutely intertwined. He is taking campaign contributions from corporations that his office may be(or has already been) called on to prosecute or advocate for. To any casual observer with one eye and half sense, he is already guilty of conflicts of interest in the Waste Management toxic sludge cases. In short, he hasn't learned a thing from his own prosecutions of the legislature.

Since from a political standpoint he simply cannot prosecute Republicans in the Senate, or go after Sam Smith in the House, because he will need them all to govern IF (and at this point it is a very big IF) he is elected, he should stop pretending that he is performing the duties of Attorney General, and start being the full time politician he is. He might be saluted for finally being honest about something.

Anonymous said...

Selective prosecution, I'm shocked! This place is closed until further notice. I will collect my winnings at the Rivers. After all Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Pennsylvania and Profiling all start with P. So, today's lesson is comping to us from the at Professional Political P{rofilers.

The Lizard said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Oh, and the Orie sisters too. It is so hypocritical of DA Zapalla to go after them because they are republicans. Selective prosecution! All for politics!"

No, what was hypocritical was for Tom Corbett's office not to do the prosecution itself, just like it had been doing exclusively to Democrats up to that point. Up to the moment of the call to the AG's office blowing the whistle on the Orie sisters, not a single Republican in the House or Senate had been brought up for indictment. Instead of doing what it had been doing for a couple of years, the AG's office (in which an Orie brother is also employed) punted the ball to a local DA, something he had done at no other time when Democrats were concerned. What was Corbett's excuse? Nobody remembers getting the call, and certainly Corbett didn't know what was happening in his own office, right? That's just what you want from a possible future governor, right?

If you want to spin the facts, at least get them straight first.

Anonymous said...

As this is written, a federal prosecutor is reviewing ALL of the AG's conduct in the last few years. There are a ton of complaints-- and now numerous lawyers in PA have put it all together and are meeting in person with the feds. Misuse of the grand jury, official oppression, civil rights violations,intimidation of witnesses and more have been documented as well as use of state and federal funds for campaign purposes-- Corbett is in for some BIG problems whether or not he is elected Governor

Anonymous said...

"Up to the moment of the call to the AG's office blowing the whistle on the Orie sisters, not a single Republican in the House or Senate had been brought up for indictment. "

What about Perzel, Feese, and co?

Signor Ferrari said...

Jennifer Knapp Rioja telephoned Tom Corbett's office Oct. 30, 2009. Perzel and Co. were indicted Nov. 12, 2009.

The Lizard said...

Thanks to Signor Ferrari for the exact dates. The politicization of the AG's office can't be denied or ignored. Democrats are indicted in public show arrests prior to elections, and not one of those possible Democratic "legislative" cases was referred to a county DA, as was indeed the case of Corbett's friends the Ories.

Republicans Perzel, Feese and Co., on the other hand, were indicted after the 2009 election when damage was likely to have lesser effect. It must have worked. After all, Perzel, indicted though he is, won his primary for reelection. The AG's office isn't going to touch any of Corbett's friends or those he will need to help him govern. It's that's simple. It's also that wrong.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the lizard the only thing tom corbett is doing is wasteing money on campaigns becuase all these trails are campaining for him. its crazy, people dont see that all of this is a part of his plan! and isnt it funny that the republicans just happen to be going to trail after the election?!?

Anonymous said...

you are saying Perzel and Feese would have remained free had an intern not made a phone call to the office?

Oh, THAT makes sense.

Hey, the day before charges were filed against Perzel, Obama was mysteriously out the country.
Coincidence? I THINK NO!

Tomfoolery said...

All good points about prosecution timing. Here are a couple more. Perzel and his gang started lawbreaking in 2001 after Perzel almost lost his race. Tom Corbett was in office starting in 2003. Why wasn't anyone even investigated until after the Democrats took control of the house in 2007? Why were the Democrats first in line when Republicans had misued about 10x more in taxpayer funding? Of course it couldn't have had anything to do with Tommy boy running for AG in 2008. Of course it couldn't have had anything to do with his ambition to run for governor in 2010. When are the so-called news organizations in this state going to get off their dead ends and start doing their jobs?

I hope that Democrats will start looking at the Lt Gov race with some real serious eyes. If Corbett gets elected, we're going to need a good backup.

The Lizard said...

Anonymous said: "you are saying Perzel and Feese would have remained free had an intern not made a phone call to the office?"

They are still free, silly, because Corbett refuses to bring them to trial prior to this election. Take a morning away from Fox Noise and find out what's really going on in the world. I love it when the Corbett Trolls get in here and try to defend the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Corbett will not care about these cases after the election, but he must first become elected as Governor.

Therefore, Corbett may just bring Prezel Case before the election because it is the stronger case with 60 counts and evidence of obstruction of justice.

After how Costopulous destroyed part of the OAG Case against DeWeese that caused them to change their witness lists.

I doubt they will bring DeWeese Case before the election with just 6 counts, for fear of losing it.

This again shows the OAG under Corbett is playing politics instead of proper prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.... yeah.... you do know that once indictments are made the courts do the scheduling, right? That trial dates are set by the judge based on court schedules, evidence hearings, requests for extensions, that sort of thing right? That the prosecutor doesn't call up and say "Hey, let's do this thursday!"?

You know that, right lizard?

Anonymous said...

Corbett rules, You Bunch of Crumb Criminals.

The Lizard said...

Dream on, Anonymous. The AG's office has been "investigating" and building cases for over 3 years. That's a lot of "next thursday" gone by without yet seeing a Republican brought to trial. You do know that if the AG's office had wanted all this expedited, they could have done so, right? But if you're really insinuating that the Republican judge in charge has been in cahoots, why, I wouldn't doubt that in the least. Is that what you are insinuating?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...Hmm.... yeah.... you do know that once indictments are made the courts do the scheduling, right? That trial dates are set by the judge based on court schedules, evidence hearings, requests for extensions, that sort of thing right? That the prosecutor doesn't call up and say "Hey, let's do this thursday!"? You know that, right lizard? August 6, 2010 8:05 PM

Oh right, like Corbett's non-investigation of senators caucuses taking over 4 years, I guess that has a schedule too or none at all before any election year.

Castille proves the courts play games too on scheduling, building courthouses, and do so with political party interest in mind, and you grand stand?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...Corbett rules, You Bunch of Crumb Criminals. August 6, 2010 10:34 PM

Are you talking about Corbett rules over the Republican Criminals in the senate he will not investigate fairly or the senators staffers he has hired?

We are confused or you are!

Anonymous said...

The Lizard said...
Dream on, Anonymous. The AG's office has been "investigating" and building cases for over 3 years. That's a lot of "next thursday" gone by without yet seeing a Republican brought to trial. You do know that if the AG's office had wanted all this expedited, they could have done so, right? But if you're really insinuating that the Republican judge in charge has been in cahoots, why, I wouldn't doubt that in the least. Is that what you are insinuating? August 6, 2010 10:44 PM

Yep, the Lizard is right on because District Attorney Zappalla with a much smaller staff investigated with a Grand Jury Republican Senator Orie within 6 weeks.

Corbett is going on 177 weeks and still not a peep on any Republican Senators, but has hired their staffers he is suppose to be investigating.

The crazy thing is they think will get away with it, not so fats with new US Attorneys on the way, and Prezel ready to unload more damaging information on the OAG.

fancynance said...

CORRUPT-CORBETT the HYPOCRITE, has another 'nick-name'....LOVE this one, Corbet is the 'HUNGRY-HUNGRY-HYPO(crite)!! He is hungry for more power! Our illustrious PA-AG is now 'hungry' to be our governor & more 'power'. NO ONE really knew this bone-head until he created 'bonusgate'...3 years his name is known all over our state! Electing this man in November for PA-gov would be a HUGE mistake!! The havoc HE has created in HIS SELECTIVE PROSECUTION not only in 'bonusgate' but in other prosecutions is unfair! What his AG office has indicted, tried, prosecuted and jailed persons the SAME THING he is doing!!! I'm not saying the campaining for re-election is all perfect, but there is a VERY fine line within the laws, lots of 'gray-area', and yet he went all out with his prosecutions ONLY to make a name for himself for his run for gov.!
PERFECT EXAMPLE: (and the media needs to report on this more!)...the photos of the country fair held somewhere in PA, where the AG's 'information table' had Corbett campains buttons, literature etc...right on the table!!!! oh PLEASE!!, and the AG's office said it was a 'mistake?', and they have 'no idea' how the campaign material got there?? pleeeese give me a break! Corbett is freeking nauziating!!
OH NO Mr. Corbettt, THAT is CRIMINAL now!!! YOU are doing the SAME as you accuse and incarcerate others for! This is another fact that makes Corbett a HYPOCRITE!!
Don't be fooled by this fox PA voters......VOTE DAN ONOROTTO!!

Anonymous said...

Casa for Tom 2010.

Anonymous said...

According to John Micek... "Attorney General Tom Corbett’s Office…has filed charges against Crawford County Treasurer Frederic A. Wagner for allegedly stealing funds from the 2009 Crawford County Fair (where he’s also treasurer). Wagner, 71, of Meadville, has been charged with conflict of interest and theft in connection with the incident. The proceeds of the fair are managed by the Crawford County Fair Board, but belong to the county, Corbett’s office said. In a press release, Corbett said that evidence and testimony against Wagner was heard by a statewide grand jury, which recommended the charges..."

Tom Corbett is like the referee at a sporting event that makes a HUGE blunder of a call, and then several plays later performs a "make-up" call to try to appear fair.

Isn't this the same (Republican) Treasurer that was actively campaigning (and having his staff hand out fliers for his election) in his office, but neither the Republican DA nor the Republican AG/Candidate for Governor saw fit to prosecute??? Behavior more blatant and egregious than that committed by others who have been indicted I might add. But now that this guy is caught on tape with a hand in the cookie jar, I guess the AGs have to go after him, so they can appear "fair" in prosecuting public officials of all parties.

Anonymous said...

SCOTUS is looking for cases to reform the Prosecution System due to the heavy dismissals, reverses, and false post-convictions numbers now being realized in our Justice system.

After all, Prosecutors occupy one of the most powerful positions in society.

Prosecutors determine the fate of individuals in bringing charges and prosecuting cases.

SCOTUS wants to examine and rule on new reforms for prosecutors professionalism in the justice system as it relates to the role of prosecutors.

Special emphasis will be devoted to ethical dangers of a prosecutor’s urge to win or run for higher office over just doing the right thing and seeking the truth.

Current prosecutorial conduct needs to be examined with an eye on the temptation to test the outer limits of ethical deportment.

If you know of any cases or findings of fact where Prosecutors are doinbg misconduct, it is time to lawyer up.

SCOTUS is looking to hear one!

Anonymous said...

Everyone remembers the Duke Lacrosse case.

Mike Nifong was the District Attorney and He was running for reelection.

The case immediately gained national attention especially after Nifong castigated the young men on national television.

However, amid allegations of incompetence and prosecutorial misconduct, he eventually dropped the rape charges and asked the NC Attorney General to prosecute the other charges.

Following a thorough investigation, the state declared the young men innocent, dropped the remaining charges and labeled Nifong a rogue prosecutor.

The state bar eventually disbarred Nifong. Several families sued him and he filed for bankruptcy.

The city of Durham and Duke University paid these young men and their families millions of dollars for Nifong’s conduct.

More recently, the late former Senator Ted Stevens was the victim of prosecutor misconduct.

Federal prosecutors in his case ignored their ethical and legal duties so they could win a conviction against Stevens.

Stevens appealed the conviction but lost his reelection bid largely because of the convictions.

The judge in the case, Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, said in his twenty-five years on the bench that he had never witness such prosecutorial misconduct as the prosecutors had displayed in that case.

Newly minted Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to recommend a dismissal in the case.

The judge obliged Holder and went further. He appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the prosecutors who mishandled the case.

Anonymous said...

In Texas, a local prosecutor was recently accused of coaching a witness to lie to convict an innocent person.

Apparently, many state and federal prosecutors have forgotten the famous words of Mr. Justice Sutherland in Berger v. US, 295 U.S. 78.

He said the duty of the prosecution was "not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done."

These words seemingly fall on deaf ears in the corps of prosecutors around the country.

Convictions at all cost seem to be norm.

However, a prosecutor in Texas is seeking justice not convictions.

His name is Craig Watkins.

He is the first black DA of Dallas. As a matter of fact, he is the first black DA of any Texas county.

He implemented a program called the Innocence Project in Dallas County. To date, the project has used DNA evidence to exonerate and free twenty false accused men.

Most of these men were black men.

Some had been on death row or incarcerated for more than twenty years.

In some measure, he restores one’s faith in the criminal justice system.

The two examples above gain national attention because the cases involved rich white people.

Unfortunately, our prisons are filled with innocent poor blacks that could not fight back.

They rot in prisons because of rogue prosecutors.

No one is pursuing justice for these men.

The system has failed them twice.

Anonymous said...

n late March, Harrisburg lawyer Joshua Lock, who represents both ex-lawmakers, filed two 40-page motions with Common Pleas Judge Richard Lewis complaining about the conduct of Mr. Corbett in the 3-year-old Bonusgate probe, which has led to charges being filed against two dozen former legislators or staff members. Some have pled guilty, some have been convicted at trial and two have been cleared by juries.

In his motions, Mr. Lock basically accused Mr. Corbett of the same type of activities -- using state equipment and funds to engage in his own political activity on state time -- that Mr. Corbett has alleged against the Bonusgate defendants. Mr. Corbett is the leading Republican candidate for governor this year.

Mr. Lock also asked the judge to dismiss the charges against his clients and to bar Mr. Corbett's office from prosecuting them

Anonymous said...

A deposition by Mr. Corbett on March 11, 2010 indicates the attorney general relies heavily on his senior staff to deal with problems inside the office of his 1,100 employee bureaucracy, which includes 200 attorneys.

Corbett's answers were even more vague on ho0w office rns with mnay I cannot recalls, don't remembers, and I don't knows.

Mr. Kimmet's suit paints a picture of a castle guard surrounding Mr. Corbett.

Mr. Corbett's six-hour deposition makes clear he believes in a military style chain-of-command management.

Also named in Mr. Kimmet's suit are:

First Deputy Attorney General William Ryan,

Executive Deputy AG Louis Rovelli, former AG Chief of Staff (and

Corbett Gubernatorial Campaign Manager) Brian Nutt,

Deputy AG Michael Roman,

AG Human Resources Director Bruce J. Sarteschi,

FES manager Jill Keiser,

retired FES manager Steve Brandwene,

DOR employees James Furlong and Robert Coyne.

During his deposition Mr. Corbett indicated he could not recall or did not know the answers to more than 35 questions put to him.

Kimmet Attorney asked Mr. Corbett, "Sitting here today do you recall there being any issue or problem of enough significance that it made its way to your attention that related to the FES?"

"I would be speculating right now based upon my memory sitting here today," Mr. Corbett replied.

The Attorney then asked, "You have no memory sitting here today of an issue of gross mismanagement (a claim in the Kimmet-Bellaman suit) in FES being brought to your attention at all, prior to Mr. Kimmet filing his law suit?"

"No," Mr. Corbett said.

Again, "You have no memory sitting here today of any allegations of fraud or misconduct in FES being brought to your attention prior to Mr. Kimmet's lawsuit," was asked.

Mr. Corbett answered, "Not without seeing documents that might refresh my memory."

However, Mr. Kimmet came to the OAG, it is clear how he left. Mr. Corbett signed his walking papers in November 2008.

"When I make a decision to, if a decision has been made to terminate, it has to come to me. I can't say I necessarily look to see whether they've (the aggrieved employee) asked for a review (of their dismissal) or not," Mr. Corbett said in his deposition.

The Lizard said...

With all respect to SCOTUS, they still have a majority that would never touch Tom Corbett. Best punishment for him is a sound defeat at the polls in November. Then let the current investigations run their course.

Anonymous said...

Camp used campaign funds to pay tuition for master’s degreeTEXT SIZE By: J.D. ProseBeaver County Times
Thursday August 12, 2010 05:55 PM

BEAVER — Beaver County Commissioner Charlie Camp used campaign funds to pay for most of his tuition while pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh, campaign finance reports show.

Camp, a Republican, made four payments to the university between February 2009 and February 2010 totaling $12,314, according to records filed in the county’s elections bureau.

On Thursday, Camp, who graduated last month, defended using donated money to further his education, saying the master’s in public policy and management “is what I directly do here as a commissioner.”

As of June 7, Camp had $38,700 in available campaign cash. While campaign funds paid his tuition, Camp said he used his own money for books, parking and other expenses, and has not sought reimbursement from his campaign.

Under state law, an allowable election expense is described as “the payment, distribution, loan or advancement of money or any valuable thing by a candidate, political committee or other person for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election,” as well as payments between political committees, services that affect elections and work payments.

Leslie Amoros, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections, said any complaints about Camp’s expenses would have to be submitted to the county board of elections, which includes all three county commissioners.

Camp said that having a master’s makes him a better candidate and improves his chances of being re-elected, which is what his donors want. “It makes me more electable,” he said.

Advertisement Pitt’s program honed his analytical skills and research techniques, exposed him to “state-of-the-art” public policy programs and showed him best practices for public management, said Camp, who announced two weeks ago that he will run for re-election in 2011.

Camp’s master’s thesis was on making transportation planning programs more efficient. PennDOT and Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican candidate for governor, are interested in some of his ideas, Camp said.

Camp said his graduate program started in September 2008, and he paid the $3,000 tuition for the first semester out of his own pocket. But Camp said he saw Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, who is now the Democratic candidate for governor, and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl use campaign money in February 2009 to reimburse the Pittsburgh Steelers for flights and tickets to Super Bowl XLIII.

After that, Camp said he discussed it with some advisers and decided that his graduate school tuition was also a legitimate campaign expense.

Camp repeatedly stressed Thursday that he has not hidden anything, choosing instead to list the tuition payments in campaign filings and talk about attending Pitt at campaign events.

When asked whether he specifically told donors that he was paying for his master’s with campaign funds, Camp replied, “My campaign donors approve of me being in office and want me to stay in. And that’s why they voluntarily give me donations

As pointed out by Attorney Locke, the use of campaign funds for anything other than campaigning is a violation of PA Election law. Someone needs to lodge a formal complaint with the OAG. If he neglects this one, there is a clear abuse of prosecutorial powers as Camp is his Campaign Chair in Beaver County.