Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A portion of former Speaker and star "computergate" witness John Perzel's testimony yesterday offers the best example yet of the obtuseness of Gubernatorial Candidate  Tom Corbett's investigation of the legislature.
"Perhaps Perzel's most tantalizing testimony was about people not seated at the defense table.  At one point, he was asked about current House Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson), who was not charged in the Computergate case.  Perzel testified that Smith, then also in the House GOP leadership, controlled the caucus' checkbook and had to sign off on the computer-software contracts.  'Sam would do whatever I asked him to do,' said Perzel." (Inquirer 10/19/11)
One of the many illegal things Perzel asked Smith to do was sign these taxpayer-funded contracts with GCR, worth over $4 million, that were mainly for campaign work, not official legislative functions.

Now, compare Perzel's testimony that Smith did what he was asked to do regarding millions of dollars with this testimony from a "bonusgate" witness regarding campaign work done by legislative staff while on the taxpayer payroll using taxpayer resources:
"No one ever said, 'This is part of your job.'  I was just asked to do it and I did it." (Post-Gazette 3/2/10)
Dozens and dozens of staff from both sides of the aisle were put under enormous pressure and peril by Corbett's investigation.  They were threatened with arrest, put in fear of losing their jobs after witnessing other staff being fired, dragged before a grand jury, and then thrust into the public spotlight during the well-publicized trials.  All because they were "asked to do it and did it."

Yet, Smith who was asked to approve millions of dollars of taxpayer money for what "everyone" knew to be illegal campaign work was never forced to testify before the grand jury and isn't on the government's witness list for the "computergate" trial. The only reason that Smith will have to answer publicly, and under oath, about his clear involvement in the "computergate" scheme is because the defense is calling him as a witness.  (Tribune-Review 10/19/11)  The prosecution wouldn't go so far as to inconvenience him.

Smith's experience mirrors that of every other elected official from both parties when it comes to Corbett's investigation. With the sole exception of defendant DeWeese, not a single legislator, past or present, was brought before a grand jury to testify for these investigations or used as a government witness in any of the trials, even though dozens and dozens of them show up in trial exhibits, grand jury testimony, and Corbett's own presentments.

At the end of the day, who is really being held accountable?  Members of staff doing what they were told?  A mere handful of washed-up current and ex-members of the legislature, like Perzel, Feese, Veon, DeWeese, and Stetler, who have absolutely no influence on the success or failure of now-Governor Corbett's legislative agenda?

If all this illegal campaign activity had occurred in a vacuum that included only those indicted, then this would make sense.  But that simply isn't the case.  Testimony, trial exhibits, and just plain ol' common knowledge proves that huge swaths of the current membership of the General Assembly knew, condoned, benefited from, and even participated in the use of both caucus' resources for their own re-elections.

Shame on Corbett for conducting an investigation in this manner.  Shame on those of us who work in and around state government for letting Corbett proceed in this fashion.  And, shame on all those members of the legislature for sitting by  watching others, particularly staff, take the fall.


Anonymous said...

Tom Corbett's investigation fails to prove who manipulated this new computer system to their advantage.

A computer master could easily establish their own salary in the database by listing a common government title and affiliation to a political party during the election campaign.

The Attorney General's Office did not prove a case against John Perzel, but simply forced his responsibility as the chief executive officer.

Anonymous said...

I agree... Shame on us for letting this happen.
As a staff person, I want nothing more than to see justice served and Corbett called out for his blatant selective prosecution - strickly for the purpose of getting elected Governor.
Here is the problem:
Even if I know things. Even if I can prove things, who is listening?
The only real outlet people like me could exploit is the press, and they don't seem to care either.

If a good journalist really wanted to latch on to a story that rivals a good Grisham Novel, all they need to do is ask.

Put an ad on this site, asking for people with inside knowlege to anonymously talk to them and I bet they would be flooded.

Anyone in the media actually interested?

I bet the answer ends up being no.

Anonymous said...

Oscar Goldman, Now you cross the threshold into the state penn?

Anonymous said...

Corbett indicted Dems in 2008 while he spoke to Orie. Hypocrite. He boasted on TV that he would follow the evidence where it leads him, of course, that was when he was running for PA Governor. He has NOT followed any evidence. Read the Grand Jury Presentment. Many names are mentioned yet NONE were even questioned? What kind of prosecution team does he have? I am quite sure they are WELL OVERPAID and follow his orders. TAXPAYER MONEY WASTED on a select few.

Anonymous said...

If This Turns Out To be True, Tom Corbett And His Pennsylvania May Have Engaged in Another Covfer Up, But This One Will Not Stand Since It Involves The Abuse Of Children!


bobguzzardi said...

The more I read of John Perzel's testimony; the more it occurs to me that there is a qualitative difference between the Veon-Cott Bonusgate charges and the Perzel-Preski-Feese charges.

There is a solid argument that "everyone was doing it" and things that were illegal were treated as technical illegalities, like a funeral procession driving through red lights and commandeering the right of way. It is illegal but everyone does it and no one thinks it wrong. or driving no more than 10 miles over the speed limit. so some phone calls were made from the government office. Not the end of the world. Bonuses may have been a step too far and it seems that the bonuses were unprecedented.Correct me if I am wrong.

In Perzel-Preski-Feese, there was no such thing. Computer programs had never been used in the way that Republican leadership. This is not only quantitatively different - $20 million v. $1.8 million but qualitatively different. Perzel acted in a deliberate and careful manner in building this complex program. It was not a few minutes from time to time.

Let us see what kind of sentence Perzel gets. Veon is in jail for six years.

The real mystery is Sam Smith...he was either complicit with Perzel, Preski and Feese or stunningly, ( I would say, unbelievably ), clueless.

How is such a clueless guy in leadership of anything?

I think the Republicans have to repay the $20,000,000. As I think about it, I think I won't make any more state campaign contributions to Republicans until the $20,000,000 is repaid. The Rs got the benefit; the Rs have to pay.

Brett Feese was Sen. Gene Yaw's law partner. Is it likely there were no discussions about this computer program. As John Perzel, no one thought they were doing anything wrong, why wouldn't they talk about it?

I would like the Ds to reimburse The Forgotten Taxpayer who is watching this sickening display of corruption play out with almost no outrage...except the ever reliable CasablancaPA.

Sen. Rafferty has declared to run for Attorney General. Isn't there a conflict or an appearance of conflict because the Senate Bonusgate investigation is ongoing as far as we know. How can he prosecute the people he worked with? What did he know and when did he know it? Was he as allegedly clueless as Sam Smith and is that a person we want as AG?

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

It seems some sort of group interested in protecting children has gotten hold of this, Penn State Sandusky Child Sex Abuse Grand Jury Investigation - Pennsylvania

I knew some Penn State Officials were called to testify. I didn't realize how far it reached into the administration.

It will be real interesting when the Grand Jury's findings are revealed but it sure has taken long if the PAOAG is really out to protect children. Several heads may roll at PSU and OAG.

Leroy Zimmerman running Hershey Trust and former PAOAG whose Son-In-Law will be running for AG and Tom Corbett that used the OAG to become elected are very good at cover ups of crimes by their Republican friends and their families.

Up to AG Linda Kelly and seek the truth.

The Truth is what Prosecutors should go after not Headlines For Higher Office like Corbett did as AG.

The big problem if Tom Corbett and Frank Fina can cover up crimes that happen in the Republican Senate Caucus, not protecting children is beyond the pale of any morality standard.

So far in spite of Hershey Trust Board Member providing Criminal Information in the Newspapers, the Powers at the PAOAG, seem quite adept at covering up Grand Jury Reports never published, Corbett held 34 Grand Juries, but on;y 6 have been made public.

Plus, no Grang Jury has been called in on the Hershey Trust or Republican Caucus Abuses???

I hope none of this happen and no child was hurt or abused, and Jerry did none of these allegations, but the truth and children come first regardless of any spite towards PSU.


Now you know why, a Federal Independent Special Prosecutor needs to be appointted to investigate the PAOAG and Tom Corbett's Campaign Committee and alleged Mike Long Activity on Election Law Violations against Republican and Democratic Candidates!

Anonymous said...

It seems like all these officials are made of the same corrupt cellular material. And why is "Honorable" in front of any of their names?

There's nothing honorable about any of these scumbags.

Lets see how much time this scumbag gets...55 months out of 17 or 24 years seems like a popular number in our justice system.

It is amazing what greed and power can do to a human being from Master Of The House Waiter to Speaker of the House.

I rest easy knowing these people will be judged one final the right judge and Republican Senators are investigated and prosecuted too.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Frank Fina is prosecuting only two people after the Honorable John Perzell said everyone knew?

Yet, the Pennsylvania Attorney General only mentioned two people.

Who were the rest or didn't see fit to report taxpayer money being used?

Which Republicans sought access to these computer Programs, such tracing is easy to do on State Computers Logs.

I guess the honor system isn't actually used in Harrisburg, after all, especially on Strawberry Square, where the Prosecutors are not square at all these days.

I remember when it used to be a straight street to Strawberry Square, but now the curves and crooked now have been hard to travel now.

Especially as Tom Corbett's Campaign run by Mike Long became twisted within Election awl Violations never investigated by bending knee Frank Fina, now overseen by warped wrapped up new AG promising never to investigate Senate Republicans.

bobguzzardi said...

For people who vote on the Pennsylvania budget of $63,000,000,000 $sixty three billion dollars annually, it is amazing how little they knew about what John Perzel was doing.