Tuesday, March 1, 2011
For someone with so much to hide, Bill DeWeese can't seem to shut up. Inexplicably, the Capitol Stenographers Corps is only too happy to provide him with fawning puff pieces and a forum to ramble unchecked.
It's too bad he's so rarely confronted with a tough question - we so enjoyed the deer-in-headlights look on his face when he realized that he'd just admitted to KDKA's Jon Delano that he never delegated responsibility for awarding bonuses.
But PCN's Bill Bova is no Jon Delano. The unasked questions could fill - well, a blog post.
"Corbett was coming after me with very unhappy headlines. With handcuffs and with jail cells."
When were you in handcuffs or in a jail cell? Oh, that's right - never.
"I was with him [Corbett] at the Superbowl - paid my own way."
Yeah, with campaign funds. How is that a legitimate campaign expense?
"In February of '07, with our lawyers in the room - the investigation's been going on a couple weeks at this point - with Manzo, and others in the room, Corbett said "You tell Bill DeWeese he brought this on himself." This was within a couple of weeks of Bonusgate. After five years, I've never been involved in the Bonusgate. I was not charged with Bonusgate."
If you've never been involved in Bonusgate, why did you plead the Fifth when called to testify in the Bonusgate trial? How could you incriminate yourself in a scheme in which you had no involvement?
"The allegations - and I asked you a few moments ago, and you are very, very au courant, if I might use some of the limited French that I have - you're a very educated character in what's going on in the Capitol, and you couldn't even tell me what I'm charged with. The nebulosity of that statute is such - the conflict of interest - he charged me with two of my people campaigning before five o'clock without a leave slip."
What was your response when two of your former colleagues and 10 staff people were charged under that statute? Isn't it true you said it was the greatest day of your life? Did you think the statute was nebulous then? Those "two of my people" - do you mean Kevin Sidella, who worked as your campaign fund-raiser full-time, at taxpayer expense, for almost 6 years, and Sharon Rodavich, who "did nothing but politics?" Does that include Melissa Frameli, Carol Bohach, Susan Story, Debra Konosky and Angel Kirby-Willard, who said campaign work was expected from them from the date of their hire? Does it include the Harrisburg staffers you stopped in the hallways of the Capitol and asked, "Why aren't you in Greene County?"
Also, what did you mean when you told Sidella "our saving grace is that everyone does it?"
"So, then he charges me 35 months later, after I cooperated, after I hired Republican prosecutors to cooperate with him, 35 months later, he charges me."
Yeah, why do you suppose there was such a long lag time between Sidella's incriminating grand jury testimony in 2007 and your indictment in December 2009? We're very curious about that, too.
Speaking of "cooperating," in September of 2007, you were contesting subpoenas served on caucus staff and seeking to have seized evidence excluded. In October of 2007, courts ruled against you on both the seized evidence and the subpoenas. Shortly after that, you negotiated with the Attorney General to turn over incriminating e-mails. What did those "negotiations" entail, and what persuaded you to begin cooperating? How did you decide which staffers to fire and which to provide with legal representation?
And why is it significant that you hired "Republican prosecutors" to cooperate with him?
"A couple counts because two people did campaign work - allegedly - I'm not sure they did - and they were told many times along with the whole team to never campaign on government hours."
But didn't you admit to the grand jury that campaign work " was not unusual?" Didn't you say, "That was part of the culture. Looking back it was wrong. We shouldn't have done it but it was part of the political culture on Capitol Hill."
(By the way, did anyone else get a very weird vibe from this non sequitur? -
"His agents have always been very, very polite and very, very professional - especially that muscular, charismatic, warm-hearted young gentleman that drove him for so many years, Brian Westmoreland. Wonderful guy." Then, later: "I'm very fond of many aspects of his world, including his wife and Brian Westmoreland, his bodyguard." What's up with that?)
For the record, we agree that cancellation of SCI German was political, and most likely personal. It's ironic, considering that DeWeese himself insulated himself against accusations of wrongdoing by his former chief of staff by firing him and exposing his extramarital affair. When the accusations came, DeWeese deflected the accusations with "You can't believe him; he's pissed me for firing him. And besides, he's a lying philanderer." Let us be the first to predict that when DeWeese starts making unsavory accusations against Corbett, Corbett will respond with "You can't believe him; he's just pissed at me for canceling his prison."