Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The headline: "DeWeese Wants Bonusgate Trial Moved Out of Harrisburg."

The only problem is, DeWeese isn't charged in "Bonusgate," and won't be having a "Bonusgate" trial at all - neither in Dauphin County nor Greene County.

By using the lazy and simplistic appellation "Bonusgate" to refer to a whole subset of criminal cases, the Harrisburg Stenographers Corps not only paints a grossly inaccurate portrait of political corruption in Pennsylvania, but also actively aids and abets Tom Corbett in a massive ongoing campaign of mendacity.

The idiotic term "Bonusgate" was coined in response to allegations that all four legislative caucuses in the General Assembly may have paid taxpayer-funded bonuses to staff in return for work on political campaigns. Under the original definition, only a single (Democratic) lawmaker and several (Democratic) staffers have been charged in "Bonusgate." And only a single person, lawmaker or staff, has been convicted by a jury of "Bonusgate" crimes.

Tom Corbett, of course, is all to happy to have these facts obscured. Every time a sycophantic journalist refers to Bill DeWeese's alleged crimes as "Bonusgate," Corbett becomes more and more insulated from questions about the arrangement that kept Bill "U R welcome" DeWeese from being charged in the actual "Bonusgate" case. Or why he never filed a single charge against Senate Republicans, who awarded the largest bonuses, to staffers who were most active on political campaigns.

Apparently, it even helps him create the impression that Sen. Jane Orie is charged in "Bonusgate," even though he pointedly refused to investigate complaints about alleged illegal campaign activities in her office, (and then lied about it). The Philadelphia Daily News (after some initial confusion) now insists that Corbett charged 26 people in "Bonusgate." Only by counting Jane Orie could the News arrive at such a number, as Corbett has charged only 25 people in his legislative corruption investigation, "Bonusgate" or otherwise.

Of course, John Perzel and company aren't charged in "Bonusgate," either, though they might have been if there hadn't been a larger alleged diversion of taxpayer funds for political purposes for Corbett to exploit.

But DeWeese wasn't charged with such large-scale diversion of public resources for political activity as the $9.3 million House Republicans paid GRC & Associates, or the nearly $1 million in "labor and benefits" from the House Republican Information Technology Department, or the $6.2 million in payments to Aristotle International, Inc., or the $3.8 million paid to Constituents Direct LLC, or $400,000 to Weiss Marketing Group, or $100,000 in politically-motivated junkets.

(If you add all this together, along with "miscellaneous uses of public resources for campaign work" and the salaries and benefits of the Office of District Operations - "a taxpayer-funded, wholly owned campaign subsidiary of the House Republican Campaign Comittee" - using journalism math, somehow it comes to a little more than $10 million.)

DeWeese, on the other hand, is charged with the relatively commonplace transgressions of directing his district office staff to perform political work on state time, using state resources, and employing a full-time political operative on his legislative staff. As we have mentioned before, Corbett could've chosen the name of any pre-2007 legislator out of a hat, subpoenaed records and questioned staff under oath, and had a better-than-average chance of discovering similarly questionable campaign activity.

Despite ample evidence of his involvement, (and he admits he can't speak honestly about it without incriminating himself), DeWeese was not charged with awarding bonuses for political work, or the other caucus-wide activities at the heart of the case. But the relatively minor nature of DeWeese's charges is obscured by the use of the term "Bonusgate," and no one to date has even asked what his negotiations to incriminate others entailed.

Keep up the good work on behalf of Corbett's campaign, scribblers. Perhaps you, too, will be rewarded with a six-figure taxpayer-funded job!


Anonymous said...

It'd be amazing, and terrible, if it ever comes out that DeWeese got immunity or somehow got a pass in order to incriminate staffers under his control.Surprising because that is the exact opposite from the way the system is supposed to work; normally it's the "little" fish turning on the "big" fish. Terrible because that's a perversion of justice. The question is, will anyone (reporter? investigator?) ever get to the bottom of this?

Anonymous said...

Former Chief Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington
By tashaj

Philadelphia, June 2, 2011:

District Attorney Seth Williams is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Blessington to the position of Chief of Special Investigations.

Pat will report directly to Curtis Douglas, the Deputy for Investigations, where he will be targeting government and city corruption, and under Pat’s leadership a new Corruption Prosecution Task Force will also be formed in the office.

Blessington was one of the Senior Deputy Attorney General that used extreme foul language in the Grand Jury and Interviews, both violations of the Code of professional conduct.

Complaints are still filed and need to be resolved, as the Office of Attorney General will come under investigations for 34 Grand Juries many without a Report or resolution to date after 6 years.

Blessington can run to another place and joining a County District Attorney Office is a step down, showing the PA OAG is cutting their losses and starting to distant themselves from those that committed alleged Prosecution Misconduct.

It will not work, and when the Feds come a calling asking questions, some people at PA OAG are not going to lie for anyone.

Time is coming for the reckoning that was predicted years ago.

Justice, the law, and moral turpitude have a way of catching up with those that did not and did practice it.

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferrari: 'Scuse. Please help me with some information, Signor? Just 4 facts I am seeking. In the original indictments, how many charges were brought? It seemed like hundreds of individual counts against the "bonusgate 12." Then, how many counts eventually resulted in guilty pleas or verdicts, signor? I wish to calculate a sort of "prosecutorial batting average" if you please. Third, of the 12, how many were incarcerated? Finally, sir, how many lost a pension? Thinking of those 12, and including former Representatives Jones and LaGrotta who were prosecutted, what percentage actually lost pensions. The fact I cannot have, of course, is the cost of this.

Signor Ferrari said...

Fortunately, we already have calculated this for you.

Of the 322 criminal charges Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett filed against 12 House Democrats that have been adjudicated, there have been 50 convictions or guilty pleas - an overall success rate of 15.5%.

There were 145 charges that went to trial, resulting in a total of 22 convictions - a slightly worse success rate of just under 15.2 percent. Of the five defendants who went to trial, two were acquitted of all charges.

Of the 12, two are serving actual prison time and two were sentenced to work release. Mike Manzo and his wife Rachel have yet to be sentenced.

It's unclear which of the defendants forfeited their state pensions.

Anonymous said...

High court says Orie can pursue double-jeopardy argument

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania's high court says a state senator should be allowed to argue that a new trial on public corruption charges would constitute double jeopardy.

The state Supreme Court ruled 6-to-0 today that Superior Court should consider Allegheny County Sen. Jane Orie's claim that she should not be subject to a second trial on claims she misused her public office for campaign purposes.

Ms. Orie's sister, Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, didn't participate in the decision.

The high court order says the lower Superior Court should consider whether a retrial should be barred on grounds that include the trial judge declaring a mistrial without considering less drastic measures.

Calls to Jane Orie and her lawyer weren't returned. A spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office declined comment.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11174/1155754-100.stm#ixzz1Q7wpC7v1

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferrari said...It's unclear which of the defendants forfeited their state pensions.June 22, 2011 1:57 PM

This is the biggest problem with the "Corbett Campaign Show Trials To Be Elected Governor”.

No Law should be vague when it comes to putting people in Prison.

The Law should be administered fairly, understandable, and consistent when taken away one's freedom.

The PAOAG claims these cases were brought as deterrence for others, what kind of message does that send when the prosecutions were so vague and inconsistent and no one can understand what kind of deterrence message is being sent to the public.

Where are Senate Investigations and Prosecutions?

This was nothing short of a political lynching and everyone is starting to know it.