"Someone started deleting these documents about two weeks after the trial. We were notified by attorneys for the Senate caucus that documents were missing. We're done playing with these guys." (Tribune Review 9/29/11)Especially notable about Zappala's announcement is that these are the very first subpoenas issued for testimony from Senate Republican staff, even though it's been nearly five years since then-Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett claimed he would investigate all four legislative caucuses and their alleged use of taxpayer resources for political campaign purposes.
There's no doubt these subpoenas will allow Zappala's investigators will uncover problems with Orie, but if they ask the right questions, then Mike Long, Drew Crompton, former Senator Bob Jubelirer and former Senator Chip Brightbill have much to fear.
Corbett and his Republican Attorney General successors have allowed the Republican State Senate Caucus to self-investigate and self-report any evidence of campaigning illegally by its members and staff. In fact, the only contact between the Office of Attorney General and the Senate GOP has been the two voluntary appearances of former General Counsel Stephen MacNett, one of the very Senate staff members who performed campaign work on the state's dime over his many years as an employee of that caucus.
Clearly, Corbett's tactic of allowing the Senate Republicans to investigate themselves has been an abject disaster, most clearly exhibited by its failure to uncover the rampant illegality occurring in Orie's offices. If they "missed" that, then it is highly likely they've "missed" Mike Long's well-documented campaign activity and the taxpayer-funded bonus Drew Crompton' received for working on Lynn Swann's 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
For too long, Corbett and the Office of Attorney General has been playing a cute little game of hide the sausage with the Senate Republican Caucus. Well-deserved investigative scrutiny finally being is brought to bear by Zappala. Subpoenas, testifying under oath, and the threat of perjury convictions tend to elicit the truth from even the most reluctant of witnesses.
Let's hope Zappala asks the questions of those under oath that Corbett and his successors have refused to ask for over five years.