"Michael Quintero Moore, who receives a city salary of $60,179 a year as Miller's communications director, was accused of creating that flier and several other political documents on his city-owned computer, in Miller's office on the third floor of City Hall. Moore then used a city printer to produce more than 1,000 copies of the flier, and directed Kacy Nickens, Miller's niece and a $30,000-a-year staff member, to fold them for distribution, [the Ethics Board] said. Nickens allegedly set up her folding operation at the councilwoman's desk, where Ethics Board investigators found the material May 13 while serving a subpoena for political material....[the Ethics Board's] enforcement action accused Moore of 11 violations of the City Charter's restrictions on political activity, and five additional counts of trying to undermine the Ethic's Board's investigation by deleting relevant files from Council's computer system and refusing to answer questions under oath from board investigators." (Inquirer 10/21/11)
Highly-paid staffers doing campaign work on the city taxpayer clock. Staff ordering other staff to work on campaigns. Nepotism. The use of city taxpayer equipment. Destroying evidence. Refusing to cooperate with investigators.
This is exactly the kind of illegality Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams specifically brought former Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington onto his "anti-corruption" team to weed out earlier this year:
"'There is no question that Mr. Blessington has the abilities, the temperament, and the accomplishments to serve as our chief corruption prosecutor,' Williams said. 'I've asked him to investigate corruption wherever it may go and wherever it may lead us.'" (Inquirer 6/3/11)
Heck, from reading Williams' press release on his appointment, you'd think that the pinnacle of Blessington's career was a trial that resulted in 117 acquittals.
We're eager to see if Blessington will spring into action. Let's face it, this isn't the only politiking Miller's staff has done over the years. Furthermore, who believes that Miller didn't order this work to be done?
Blessington was only too happy to see legislative staff who did this exact same type of activity go to prison. Now that Blessington is patrolling a much smaller pond than the entire Commonwealth, can we expect him to bring the hammer down on Miller and her taxpayer-funded political operation?
We're not holding our breath. While this case is a mirror image of the "bonusgate" charges, it also closely resembles the case of former Rep. Matt Wright, (AP 1/29/10), who in 2009 was given a complete pass by Corbett's investigators - including Blessington - even though they adamantly maintained, "Anybody who violated the law is going to get it." (Patriot News 8/3/08)
Perhaps we have Blessington all wrong. Now that he's no longer under the direction of Corbett, maybe he'll live up to the high standards of "following the evidence wherever it leads" - a standard to which Corbett paid only lip service during his investigation of the state legislature. Perhaps, Williams won't be afraid of taking down clearly guilty elected officials and not just irrelevant entities and a bunch of staff
Maybe, just maybe, Blessington will even use his freedom from the GOP-dominated Attorney General's office to take on Corbett's taxpayer funded political machine that was operated out of the OAG since the day Corbett took office in 2005. Make no mistake, the Philadelphia District Attorney - or any district attorney in the Commonwealth - has the authority to do so.