Tuesday, May 10, 2011
TOM CORBETT: DRAGON SLAYER?
We're not sure how he managed it, but Tom Corbett has earned the reputation of a dragon-slayer without so much as stepping on a salamander's tail.
Just a few of the latest examples:
Delco Times: "The “Bonusgate” scandal was the most recent [instance of corruption], with political leaders handing out some $4 million in taxpayers’ money to legislative staffers to work on political campaigns."
Philadelphia Daily News: "...the Tom Corbett who, as attorney general, brought down 22 legislators in the Bonusgate scandal ... "
Patriot-News: Tom Corbett as Pennsylvania attorney general brought down some of the most powerful lawmakers in the state.
As these organization are well aware, whese characterization are blatantly false. Why they're willingly participating in Tom Corbett's campaign of misinformation, we have no idea.
Who are the "political leaders" accused of handing out bonuses for campaign work? Who are the "22 legislators" or "powerful lawmakers" whom Corbett "brought down?" They don't exist. They are figments of the media's imagination.
Mike Veon, the only elected official or former elected official to be charged in connection with awarding bonuses, was not even in office when he was indicted. His own constituents must take the credit for "bringing him down" after denying him relection - largely because of his refusal to repudiate his pay raise vote - two years before Corbett indicted him.
John Perzel, who has yet to face trial, similarly was deposed of his leadership post by his colleagues in the House Republican Caucus three years before Corbett indicted him. Furthermore, the pace and timing of the investigation of Perzel & Co. clearly shows Corbett originally had no intention of indicting any Republicans at all.
Sean Ramaley, the only sitting lawmaker among the original indictments, (and but for negative publicity, the only one, period.) was a rank-and-file sophomore who was not accused of any bonus-related crimes. He also just happened to be the Democrat running in a competitive state state Senate race at the time. He was acquitted of all charges, but his prosecution was a victory for Team Corbett nonetheless. Ramaley was forced to withdraw from the Senate race, which went to Republican Elder Vogel Jr.
Bill DeWeese, the only defendant who was a legislative leader at the time of his indictment, also has yet to face trial and was not charged with any bonus-related crimes. In fact, he would have escaped criminal charges completely if not for media reports exposing his culpability in bonuses and other caucus-wide scandals. Yet he was not charged in these episodes, and evidence obtained by prosecutors through "negotiation" with DeWeese was used to indict DeWeese's staffers and underlings. As for whether he's been "brought down," last we heard he was reelected and still is clucking away on the House floor, trying his best to excoriate for the record the prosecutor and prosecution he once praised (he called the day of the original indictments "the greatest day of my life.") Hypocritical as his attempts to condemn Corbett are, that he was gaveled down and denied permission to speak is even more offensive.
By charging as many staffers as possible connected to as few actual lawmakers as possible, Corbett created the illusion of cleaning House when he merely kicked a few dust bunnies under the rug.
By the numbers:
Sitting lawmakers indicted by Corbett on any corruption charges: 3
Lawmakers, past or present, accused of awarding bonuses for political work: 1
Legislative leaders indicted by Corbett: 1
Legislative leaders "brought down" by Corbett's indictments: 0
Total number of lawmakers, past or present, indicted by Corbett on any corruption charges: 6