Wednesday, July 20, 2011
DON'T GO THERE
We must admit, we are baffled by the latest demands of professional attention whores Tim Potts and Eric Epstein. They're calling on the Office of Attorney General to make further arrests in the "ongoing" investigation of the legislature known as "Bonusgate."
Is Linda L. Kelly running for higher office?
We're not ruling out that a carefully-selected Senate scapegoat might face token charges, just to allay suspicion that the Senate was completely overlooked - even though Senate staffers who worked on campaigns received some of the largest bonuses in the legislature.
But even professional attention whores can't pull off the pretense that the Office of Attorney General led by then-gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett ever seriously and thoroughly investigated the Senate - or that any 11th-hour charges that might be filed are the result of a serious and thorough investigation of the Senate.
Corbett's refusal to investigate a member of the Senate even after a whistleblower's complaint - much less the fact that he didn't discover the wrongdoing on his own - is sufficient proof that the Senate never was a target.
Even stronger proof is that Corbett aborted his investigation of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board without filing any charges. With the Gaming Board, as with the Senate Republican Caucus, all roads lead to Bob Jubelirer and David "Chip" Brightbill. And Corbett certainly wasn't planning on going there.
As leaders of the powerful Senate majority, they held strong sway over the Gaming Control Board. Very little happened without their approval. It would be difficult to make a case for criminality among the Board - much less the Senate Repbulican Caucus - without implicating Jubelierer or Brightbill. (Look what happened when he tried to leave Bill DeWeese out of House Democratic indictments. Team Corbett may not be geniuses, but they do learn their lessons)
Brightbill, at least, understood this from the beginning. In September 2007, Brightbill created the Great Valley Leadership Fund for the sole purpose of disguising a $6,000 contribution to Corbett's campaign. The $6,000 was, at the time, the only contribution to the PAC - from Brightbill - and the only contribution from the PAC - to Corbett. Corbett didn't return the contribution until seven months later, after questions were raised. But there certainly were other avenues though which Brightbill could pay tribute - According to Capitolwire, Team Corbett reassured Senate Democrats that contributions laundered through the coffers of running mate Jim Cawley would not be returned.
This tangled mess have been avoided if Corbett had done the right thing from the beginning and appointed an independent prosecutor. Nearly five years later, we remain flabbergasted that the press and public passively accepted Corbett's insistence upon investigating his own political adversaries and allies - even as they acknowledged the political advantage he gained from the investigation. Especially since he campaigned on the very same issue.