Monday, February 7, 2011


Everyone does it.

It's a statement that was met with mocking scorn when Mike Veon raised it to highlight flaws in Corbett's investigation, and with shocked indignation when presented as the conclusion of a grand jury. Bill DeWeese said it would be his "saving grace."

When Veon argued selective prosecution in a pre-trial motion, some likened his arrest to a speeding ticket. It's true that police know they can't possibly ticket every speeder, but the main purpose of issuing speeding tickets is to serve as a deterrent.

Is that what Governor Tom Corbett intended? To prosecute a few in order to deter the rest?

The Office of Attorney General has gone to great pains to declare quite the opposite:

"Anybody who violated the law is going to get it," deputy AG Frank Fina told the Patriot-News.

That's a blatant and shameful lie, as CasablancaPA has documented time and time again. And again.

Was it a desire to punish "anybody who violated the law" within the legislature that led Corbett launch an investigation of one caucus only (while claiming to investigate all four), only to have to go back and initiate a real investigation of another after questions of partisanship threatened to derail his political plans?

(For the last time, the lame rationale that Corbett investigated only one caucus because he suspected evidence was being destroyed is not only false, but makes no sense. Corbett didn't hear such a rumor until August (Agents “rushed” to seize the records “after receiving a tip that they were about to be destroyed.”) - months after launching the Democrats-only investigation. Even as Corbett's lackeys brandish this discredited theory to defend his investigation of only one caucus, they conveniently ignore that it contradicts his claim that he was, at the time, investigating all four caucuses.

That Corbett's original intention was to indict only a few select Democrats, despite evidence of misconduct in in all four caucuses, is obvious beyond question. As Corbett's 2008 opponent for Attorney General John Morganelli said, "If I have four potential targets, and I think they all might be involved in the same thing, and if I go to house A and take all the evidence out and wait two years to go after B, C and D, there’s not going to be any evidence in B, C and D."

In response, Corbett's spokesperson unbelievably claimed he couldn't go after "B, C and D" - also known as the House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans - because he didn't have reason to believe that "B,C and D" were "destroying" evidence. Which raises two important points. First of all, we're not lawyers, but do you have to have probable cause that evidence is being destroyed in order to seek that evidence? Ironically, Corbett later did discover - long after serving subpoenas on the House Republicans, that they, and not the House Democrats, did destroy evidence. Just as Morganelli (and the rest of the sentient world) predicted. However did Corbett obtain subpoenas for House Republicans if he never learned that they were "destroying evidence" until long after the they were served?

And secondly, the only reason Corbett developed that particular (false) information on one caucus and not the other three is precisely because he was investigating only one caucus at the time. Even though he didn't develop the information that they were destroying evidence - which would have allowed him to initiate an investigation - until six months after starting an investigation. Which apparently he couldn't start until he learned they were destroying evidence. Despite the fact that he claimed in February 2007 that he was investigating all four caucuses.

If Corbett had really intended to probe all four caucuses (eventually?), it would have been nothing short of idiotic to launch a loud and leaky investigation of only one without taking any action on the others for months on end. And we really don't believe Corbett is that much of a idiot. Others may disagree.

He certainly seems determined to make us believe that he is; in October 2007, he and his campaign manager met privately with eventual defendant John Perzel. And in December 2007 he allowed eventual defendant Brian Preski to host a fund-raiser for him. Even though he supposedly had been investigating all four caucuses since February 2007, "we didn't have all the facts in front of us." The caucus' highest-ranking member and his chief of staff, involved in any caucus shenanigans? Is there anyone who couldn't have guessed this maybe could be the case even without interviewing a single witness or subpoenaing a single document (which apparently you can't do until you have probable cause that evidence is being destroyed)

And even though he claimed he wouldn't accept contributions from legislators while conducting his investigation, Senate Republicans happily laundered their contributions through the campaign of Corbett's running mate, with Corbett's knowledge and approval.

If he had intended to prosecute all four caucuses from the beginning, he'd have investigated all four caucuses from the beginning; it's that simple. He didn't. And it matters why.

The fact that "everyone does it" is significant not because of what it says about the defendants, but what it says about Corbett.


Anonymous said...

No question Prosecutors Misconduct was all over this investigative Grand Jury Process an dit is going to be coming out in ways they will not be happy with from a Justice standpoint.

Anonymous said...

Corbett will just blame one or two Prosecutors and have them fall under the Bus.

Corbett played it well, nothing can touch him, he has too many buffers!

Anonymous said...

A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday morning showed 65 percent of the state's voters are optimistic about the next four years with Mr. Corbett in charge, contrasted with only 59 percent in December, after he was elected but before he took office.

Half of the respondents said they have not yet formed an opinion about Mr. Corbett's performance.

But among the other half who have an opinion, those who approved of Mr. Corbett's performance outnumbered those who disapprove by more than 3-1.

"Gov. Corbett is off to a good start. Although half the electorate doesn't have an opinion of him, among those who have an opinion more than three times as many approve of what he has done so far than who disapprove," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"His challenge will be to keep that ratio of support as he gets more detailed about how he'll deal with the state government's shortfall when he releases his budget next month."

Read more:

Anonymous said...

The steps Man takes across the heavens of his universe are as uncertain as those steps he takes across the rooms of his own life.

And yet if he walks with an open mind, those steps must lead him eventually to that most perfect of all destinations, truth.