Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The biggest news from the first day of what has been dubbed the "Computergate" trial wasn't any bombshell revelations in the opening arguments. Rather, it was the Tribune-Review's Brad Bumstead's revelation that House Speaker Sam Smith will testify.

 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 addition to GCR, Smith signed a technology contract with Aristotle (page 100) and the presentment said that "...the HRCC was known to be receiving the benefit of Aristotle's voter data without cost." (page 102)

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.


Anonymous said...

Everything makes sense if you just stop and look at what was done by Corbett and what the end result was.

Candidate Corbett needed to:
1. Raise his profile statewide
2. Get on free TV as much as possible to save campaign dollars
3. Topple the democratic majority in the house.
4. Throw a bone to the Senate GOP by ensuring Ramaley didn't win the Senate seat he was almost guarenteed to win, by tainting him with bogus indictments.
5. Appear to be "fair and balanced" by finally charging some Republicans
6. Make sure those republicans are in the "we don't need these guys any more" or "we need these guys out of our way" categories.
7. Make sure whoever is still left standing in the House and Senate know they could be indicted at any time, thereby giving his administration lots of "I owe him" votes.

I could go on, but it's obvious what happened here.

Tom Corbett used his position as AG to his own benefit, in order to get elected Governor.

All indictments were very carefully thought out and vetted as "is this a good move politically, or not?"

It's the only common sense explanation for why a select few people were prosecuted for what was widespread in both Caucuses and both chambers for decades.

Anonymous said...


DA: Orie files killed by someone in GOP Senate

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. on Wednesday leveled more accusations involving the investigation of state Sen. Jane Orie, saying someone with Senate Republicans deleted computer files that could be evidence in the case.

His comments were made as the state Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal by Orie, R-McCandless, that asked the justices to bar prosecutors from trying her a second time because it would be double jeopardy.

Zappala, a Democrat, said detectives from his office and the state police are investigating what happened to at least five computer files containing documents related to Orie's case. Attorneys for Senate Republicans told his investigators a few days ago that files are missing, he said.

His office might issue 15 to 20 subpoenas for Orie staffers and Senate Republican Caucus staffers who had access to Senate computer files, he said, noting technicians likely can retrieve the missing files from backup systems.

"Someone started deleting these documents about two weeks after the trial," Zappala said. "We were notified by attorneys for the Senate caucus that documents were missing. We're done playing with these guys."

Conrad O'Brien, the Philadelphia law firm that represents Senate Republicans, released a statement saying the caucus "has gone to great lengths and expended significant resources to preserve every document relevant to this case."

The firm said it provided Zappala's office with tens of thousands of documents that investigators requested -- even some on Tuesday -- and "voluntarily and confidentially" disclosed the "database issue" to his investigators.

Orie's attorney, William Costopoulos, did not return calls for comment.

Orie, 49, is scheduled for trial in February before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning on charges that she and sister Janine Orie, 57, of McCandless ordered the senator's staff to perform political work on state time. Janine Orie worked as an aide to state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, another sister who is not charged with wrongdoing. Melvin recused herself from her sister's appeals and any of Zappala's cases.

Orie's first trial ended in a mistrial in March when Manning ruled defense attorneys introduced doctored documents as evidence. Zappala last month charged Orie with 16 new counts, including forgery and perjury. Investigators want the missing files for the forgery investigation, he said.

Investigators have copies of some of the missing files, given to them earlier by attorneys for Senate Republicans, and learned files are missing when they requested more information, Zappala said.

The Pennsylvania State Police computer crime unit will assist Zappala's office in the investigation, said public information officer Sgt. Anthony Manetta.

"We have the resources he is requesting," Manetta said.

Zappala said investigators can track who deleted files based on computer passwords and login information. Many of Orie's files were scanned into Senate computers.

"We're going through the process of elimination," he said.

State police assisted during the initial investigation, Zappala said, and he asked for the agency's help again because of its skilled computer crime unit.

Zappala's office began investigating Orie after an intern in her office called the state Attorney General's Office to complain about doing campaign work on state time. The intern later testified that the office referred her to the district attorney.

Orie's attorneys have characterized Zappala's investigation as a political vendetta.

Read more: DA: Orie files killed by someone in GOP Senate - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/state/s_759263.html#ixzz1ZLGZbvH7

Anonymous said...

Hope the State Police do not use that Tooper that used State Police Cars on State Time to pick up Corbett's Budget Director Drunken Wife, but never investigated or prosecuted, to cover up another Corbett abuse of power to protect his violations of the law.

Anonymous said...

Big rumor traveling around the Green Dome today as posted, Sam Smith Has Ship His Pants And He Cannot Clean Up What He Cannot Cover Up As The Stains Are Too Brown To Be Removed By OxyCon Frank Fina.

A brown bacteria trail of evidence has been removed within the Republican senate and house computers but the smell still lingers and pointing back to how the Attorney General Investigators and Prosecutors failed to follow it until it attached to them.

Now State Police, FBI, and Secret Service are involved and soon US Attorneys.

Sam Smith lack of memory is soon to match the vile stench coming from his mouth, which no mouthwash can erase.

Testimony under Cross Examination will result with Prosecutors allegations of too many, "Cross Questions, Cross Questions, Cross Questions”, but counted by Defense responses of "Crooked Answers, Crooked Answers, Crooked Answers!"

Sam Smith will leave the witness stand in handcuffs, once the Defense springs the October Surprise!

Anonymous said...


Thomas argues that protection of the innocent is the primary goal of the criminal justice system, and that the adversary system has proved poorly suited to advancing that goal.

In addition, he argues that Warren Court reforms exacerbated the problem, creating a system in which procedural protections have become an end rather than a means toward achieving justice.

He argues that our system would do well to adopt many aspects of the inquisitorial system, and particularly the French system.

The roverview of the book, and then explores two of its central arguments.

First, to what extent are the root causes of wrongful convictions tied to the adversary system, or to the current U.S. version of the adversary system, and to what extent do they transcend national culture?

Second, is Thomas correct that protecting the innocent is the primary goal of the criminal justice system, and that the focus on process conflicts with that goal?

Anonymous said...

The use of taxpayer money in the quest for power and GOP domination of the House of Representatives.

Attorneys for the three remaining defendants in the case, however, countered that it was just one man's quest - a man who is no longer seated at the defense table but who manipulated all the political strings: former House Speaker John M. Perzel.

"It's about powerful people taking the public's money and using it to expand and enhance their campaigns," Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina told the jury of six men and six women in Dauphin County Court.

But only those Fina chose to investigate and how Fina ignored other crimes from friends of Tom Corbett.

Once one of the most powerful people in Pennsylvania politics, Perzel was initially charged in the case but pleaded guilty this month to conspiracy and other charges. He is expected to be the prosecution's star witness, detailing how he and others allegedly conspired to tap upward of $10 million in public money to buy sophisticated computer programs that were then used to help win campaigns for Republicans.

They allowed certain House GOP caucus members to mine specialized data on voters - everything from where they shopped for groceries to whether they owned a gun - to tailor campaign literature, Election Day tactics, and other campaign activities.

Attorneys for the defendants insisted that it was Perzel who drove the process, and that his hunger to amass power made him greedy and, ultimately, criminally responsible.

Perzel's attorney, Brian McMonagle, could not be reached for comment late Monday.

In his opening statement, Preski's attorney, Bill Winning, argued that the case was about Perzel and his "insatiable, never-ending quest for power."

The prosecutor also detailed how the computer programs helped in campaigns.

They tracked how voters felt about a specific Republican candidate, he said. They enabled campaign workers to follow who showed up at the polls, and how those people felt about the candidate the GOP was supporting.

And, Fina said, if that candidate's supporters weren't showing up to vote, the programs would alert the campaign workers to that as well. That, in turn, would allow a campaign to fan out and transport to the polls those voters who could help them win.

Taxpayers, Fina said, got the bill.

Computergate grew out of the attorney general's "Bonusgate" investigation into how people connected to the House Democratic caucus used taxpayer money to reward employees who did political work.

But Fina never investigated the senate on the same crimes?

Anonymous said...


17 of 24 on state privatization panel contributed to Corbett's campaign

Saturday, October 01, 2011
By Laura Olson, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett's new privatization council is already taking some criticism for its makeup, with Democrats saying it contains too many campaign donors who could benefit from their own recommendations.

The Corbett administration defends the appointees, saying their business interests and donation records have nothing to do with their task of reviewing which government functions could performed more efficiently.

An analysis of state campaign finance records shows that 17 of the 24 appointed members contributed to Mr. Corbett's campaign coffers during the last election cycle.

Mostly through smaller checks of $500 or $1,000 a pop, those business leaders and politicos appear to have directly donated at least $234,750.

That's a small percentage of the $25 million Mr. Corbett's campaign raised and less than the $557,000 that 13 members of the governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission contributed.

Some Democrats were quick to attack that list of donors, with Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Mark Nicastre describing the new panel as "another vehicle to reward [Mr. Corbett's] donors and corporate special interests."

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley responded that no panel members have business interests that would benefit from recommendations they will propose.

The largest contribution -- about $103,500 -- came from Philadelphia GOP fundraiser Bob Asher, who also co-chaired the governor's inaugural committee. Lewisburg businessman John D. Moran Jr., who heads a warehousing and logistics company, is listed as contributing $45,750 and another $38,000 in donated transportation services.

The seven names that couldn't be found on the finance records that Mr. Corbett's campaign filed with the state are: Commonwealth Foundation president Matt Brouillette, Peter Calcara of the state's Institute of Certified Public Accountants, University of Pittsburgh executive vice chancellor Jerome Cochran, Gerald Feldman of Bradford Woods, Varsovia Fernandez of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, school-choice advocate Joe Watkins and Dennis Yablonsky of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

While Mr. Watkins didn't donate to last year's campaign, he chairs Students First, a pro-voucher group whose political action committee sent Mr. Corbett's war chest $27,000. Mr. Asher's PAC, the PA Future Fund, also sent significant dollars to Mr. Corbett's gubernatorial efforts.

Franklin & Marshall College political scientist G. Terry Madonna said those campaign checks are less of a concern than ensuring that panel members avoid the appearance of a conflict in their policy suggestions.

"You can expect that they'll promote the private sector, but they'll need to be careful not to promote their own private interests," Mr. Madonna said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11274/1179031-454.stm#ixzz1ZWXhMxjP