Saturday, September 11, 2010
"LOOKING FORWARD, NOT BACKWARD"
Kelly said he approached Corbett at the Republican State Committee meeting in June and complained about the fraudulent petition challenges that city Republican leaders had filed in March.
"I said, 'Mr. Corbett, I have some grave concerns about these guys. They're criminals.' He looked me right in the eye and said, 'I'm looking forward, not backward.' " (Philadelphia Daily News, 8/11/10)
That's a far cry from "Follow the evidence wherever it leads." Then again, there were no reporters around when Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett said he's not interested in "looking backward" at any crimes that may have been committed by his political allies in the Philadelphia Republican Party.
It's not like this case is an unsolvable whodunit: in an effort to keep candidates for state committee off the ballot, party leaders challenged their petitions. At least 30 people whose signatures appeared on the challenge documents said they never signed, and one of the signatures was that of a dead woman.
Party chairman Vito Canuso Jr. and general counsel Michael P. Meehan admit the signatures are fogeries: "Meehan and Canuso blamed the bogus signatures on overzealous ward leaders whom they declined to identify."
But when a concerned citizen tried to report the crime to Corbett, he couldn't have been less interested.
Is forging signatures a crime? Corbett thought so when he charged Democratic Rep. Linda Bebko Jones and a staffer for forging signatures on her nominating petitions. Did he "look backward" to do it? He charged her in 2008 for alleged crimes committed two years earlier. Kevin Kelly was trying to report something that happened three months earlier.
Is it only a crime when Democrats do it? Corbett's opened an investigation into alleged forgery of nominating petitions of an independent candidate for Congress whose candidacy poses a threat to the Republican Corbett's supporting, Pat Meehan.
Is it a crime when Republicans do it? Apparently not.
Corbett had no trouble "looking backward" when it came to a highly publicized investigation of House Democrats that not only raised his public profile just as he was preparing to run for Governor, but also gave his Republican allies in the House enough fodder to knock off five Democratic incumbents in their effort to regain the majority.
Of course, Kevin Kelly should have known better than to expect Corbett to launch an investigation of his political allies just because someone tries to report suspected wrongdoing. By then everyone had heard the story of how Corbett's office blew off intern Jennifer Knapp Rioja when she tried to report the taxpayer-funded campaign operation Sen. Jane Orie allegedly ran out of her district office. It's still not clear even now whether Corbett has settled on either of his lame, contradictory excuses: either there's no record the intern ever called (oh, wait; there is.) Or, Corbett routinely allows his receptionist to decide which cases his office will investigate.
Corbett's tendency to overlook accusations of wrongdoing against his political allies is well established. Apparently he's so comfortable with this reputation he's not even bothering to offer lame excuses anymore.