Friday, February 4, 2011
TRY A LITTLE HONESTY
The Bill DeWeese public relations machine, led by former human Paul Sunyak, is running in overdrive.
Resplendent in a Marine Corps jacket, (was it his idea to shoot from that angle to make him look more heroic?) DeWeese "soldiers on," breathing "rhetorical fire" with a "certain bravado." (Seriously? Retch.)
The swooning Inquirer article makes scant mention of the charges against him - and none at all of the charges he escaped, and why he escaped them.
If DeWeese wants attention so badly, let's give him some. But let's get the facts straight:
Sept. 19, 2007: DeWeese fights probe of bonus payments
Attorneys for House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese sought to pre-empt subpoenas requiring several caucus employees to appear before a statewide investigating grand jury.
Oct. 16, 2007: DeWeese loses motion to exclude seized files
DeWeese's attorneys appealed Feudale's order to the state Supreme Court, citing federal and state "legislative privilege" protections for the seized material.
Oct, 27, 2007: DeWeese loses motion to quash subpoenas
The state Supreme Court denied DeWeese's petitions to block subpoenas compelling seven staffers to testify to the grand jury.
November 2007: DeWeese "negotiated" with Corbett to turn over emails implicating others
"It was negotiated through representation from the House ... specifically Mr. Chadwick." It's unclear what considerations DeWeese received in exchange for the evidence or why Corbett agreed to the arrangement.
11/18/08: DeWeese insists he's not a target
DeWeese said he's been cooperating with Attorney General Tom Corbett's investigation of legislative practices "Since Day One." He was not asked how his attempts to quash subpoenas and motions to exclude evidence qualified as "cooperating."
Big fat lies to the contrary notwithstanding, DeWeese obviously was not cooperating with Corbett's investigation well into October of 2007. But by mid-November at the latest, he'd "negotiated" an agreement to turn over emails, fired the staffers implicated in the emails, and arranged to provide caucus-paid attorneys for staff who testified to the grand jury.
Nov. 18, 2007: Bill DeWeese, ahead of the avalanche
"He has the goods on every single member of that [Democratic] caucus, and right now they are scared,'' Mr. Potts said. "He knows what everybody is afraid of and could tell tales if he wanted to and everybody knows it. It's every man for himself."
What changed between October and November? What did the "negotiations" entail? And do they explain why DeWeese was never charged in the caucus-wide activities at the center of the Bonusgate case? Big fat lies to the contrary notwithstanding, the evidence against him was undeniable:
February 2008: DeWeese admits he never delegated authority to award bonuses
DeWeese is visibly shaken when he realizes what he just admitted to KDKA's Jon Delano. The admission contradicts earlier statements about bonuses.
July 13, 2008: DeWeese's legislative assistant testifies DeWeese approved awarding bonuses for political work
Manzo came to Bill and said several epople were coming up for their annual evaluations. They were gung-ho, go-getters, always volunteer ... they volunteered to do campaign work. Bill said, craft something you think is appropriate.
Oct, 9, 2008: Ex-aide accuses DeWeese in probe
DeWeese "had full knowledge of the bonuses. He directed that certain bonuses be given."
March 16, 2009: E-mail may tie DeWeese to scandal
Karen Steiner thanked DeWeese for a "bonus for campaigning." DeWeese responded with "U R welcome."
April 7, 2009: DeWeese OK'd extending Peter Schweyer's employment, records show
Rep. Jen Mann sought, and received, permission from Bill DeWeese to keep an aide under contract after a Democratic staffer pointed to his campaign work.
April 6, 2009: Bonusgate records contradict DeWeese
Documents show that DeWeese's campaign tapped a state-paid computer consultant - a key figure in the Bonusgate probe - to perform a long list of political tasks...exchanged campaign-related messages with his legislative staffers on state e-mail accounts ...replied "UR welcome" to an email thanking for a bonus "for campaigning" ...and approved the extension of a legislative aide's contract based on his campaign work.
The media haven't always been so willing to overlook the implications of the evidence against Deweese.
April 7, 2009: Persistent cloud: More questions raised on DeWeese's role
Time and again, though, information comes forward that seems to contradict Mr. DeWeese's assertions regarding his knowledge of taxpayer money being used to underwrite political campaigns.
Inevitably, though, as time went on and predictions about DeWeese's imminent arrest on bonus charges fell flat, scrutiny of DeWeese's role in Bonusgate led to questions about Corbett's failure to charge him.
And so far, nobody's been willing to open that can of worms.