The pride of Punxsutawney risks perjuring himself if he continues asserting under oath on the stand he knew nothing about what was happening in the House Republican Caucus right under his nose. (Tribune Review 11/18/09)
Remember, Smith was incredulous about Democratic House Leader Bill DeWeese's contention that he knew nothing about the "bonusgate" scandal that unfolded under his watch:
“I think anything as big as that [bonus] program they had going, I think he [DeWeese] was aware of it. … As the Republican leader, I know that ultimately the buck stops with me, and I’m responsible for the actions, even if I really wasn’t. … As leader you’re aware of most things. Some minor details I don’t see that go on from day to day that go on in terms of operations. But I think anything as big as that program they had going, I think he was aware of it.” (Capitolwire, 11/18/09)Now, Smith says he had no idea that the computer contracts he signed were for political purposes. It's simply not credible for Smith to say he knew nothing about the technology contracts he signed with GCR totaling nearly $6 million. (Grand Jury presentment pages 53 and 54)
Don't take our word for it. Here's what then-Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's Grand Jury presentment had to say about the work GCR was doing for the House Republican Caucus:
- “The existence and use of GCR’s Candidate Connect was widespread and notorious.” (page 67)
- “…it was clear and well known that the HRCC was not paying GCR for any of this work.” (page 73)
In fact, an email Smith received was used in the presentment to illustrate the overtly political nature of the work being done by the technology contractors. (page 81)
Another technology contract that doesn't get as much attention as the GCR arrangement is that between Weiss Micromarketing Group and the House Republican Caucus:
“On June 16, 2004, Weiss came to Harrisburg and gave a presentation to Perzel, Smith, Tomaselli and possibly Preski and Feese. Weiss testified that presentation was essentially focused on whether the term “voter” could be substituted for “consumer” in order to market an issue or a candidate. He further testified that his potential work for the Caucus was clearly understood to be for both legislative and campaign purposes.” (page 129)Yet another email to Smith is mentioned in the presentment to illustrate the blatantly political nature of the Weiss contract with the House Republican caucus:
“Weiss identified an email about these predictive election model projects The email involves Tomaselli, Bowman, Feese, Preski, Perzel, Seaman, Smith and Dull. It discusses one of the meetings Weiss had in New Orleans and specifically references building the model to predict the outcome of elections.” (page 130)Plus, Smith's top aides were in most of these meetings according to the presentment. Are we to believe Sheila Flickinger and Anthony Aliano said absolutely NOTHING about all the campaign work happening via these technology contracts, especially given that their boss signed most of them?
Flickinger was a full-time "Special Projects Coordinator" for Smith in 2006, earning $58,539. She appears over and over in the Republican presentment as an insider who knew everything that was going on under Perzel's and Feese's watch at both the House Republican Campaign Committee and the Republican Caucus' Office of District Operations.
Smith knew these technology contracts were paying for political campaign activities using taxpayer dollars. It is a mystery why Corbett went to all the trouble of including Smith in the presentment over and over and over while not indicting him.
It reminds us how he went out of his way to mention of Bill DeWeese's illegal use of a state contractor for political work, but never charged him for it. (Inquirer 4/6/09) Is it perhaps a secret signal? A taunt of some kind?
Unlike Punxsutawney Phil, Smith wasn't asleep in a hole for months at a time while the caucus operated on cruise control. He heard everything the grand jury witnesses heard. Plus, Smith was physically in many of the meetings discussing the these technology contractors and their political applications. Finally, Smith received emails clearly detailing the political nature of the work being done by the contractors.
Without perjuring himself, we're not sure Smith can avoid the sunlight testifying under oath tends to cast on the truth.