Perzel had absolutely no authority within the House Republican Caucus in 2007. Sam Smith and his staff took the reins in the caucus. Perzel and his former chief of staff, Brian Preski, were non-entities.
That's why we were very interested in this bit of testimony from Tony Painter that Pete Jackson with the Associated Press reports today from the computergate trial:
"Tony Painter, who served as the caucus' director of information and technology from 1994 to 2007, said Feese - a former state representative from Lycoming County and one of two defendants - approached him about replacing the caucus email system in February 2007, shortly after the GOP lost control of the House and Feese became the caucus' lawyer. Painter said he was stunned when Feese told him legislative and campaign activities must be kept separate. He said Feese, who had previously served as House GOP whip and head of the House Republican Campaign Committee, knew that tapping public funds for political purpose had become routine among caucus leaders. "It was a phony meeting" designed to make Feese appear innocent, Painter said. "Within three or four days of this meeting, it's business as usual." (Associated Press 10/7/11)
Note that Painter says the use of taxpayer dollars - in early 2007 - "had become routine among caucus leaders." That's "leaders," plural. Not "leader," as in just Perzel. There's not a soul in Harrisburg, much less within the House Republican Caucus, who would not consider Smith one of the leaders throughout the entire period covered by the "computergate" trial.
Most telling is that this meeting was held in 2007 when Perzel was no longer in charge. Every decision was Smith's to make. Yet, Painter says that, regardless of what was said at this "phony meeting," within days it was back to "business as usual."
"Business as usual" was the continuation of the House Republicans using taxpayer resources for campaign purposes. Only now, instead of simply knowing about this illegal activity, Smith was in charge of it, and allowing it to continue under his watch.