Friday, October 21, 2011

HAVE AT IT, PAT

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports some very familiar-sounding news to those who have been following  Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett's investigation of the state legislature. In this case, it involves Philadelphia City Council Member Donna Reed Miller's office and staff:

"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)

Oh, my.

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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

So Speaker of the House Sam Smith (Majority Leader under Perzel) and Senator Dave Argall (ex-Rep. & Whip under Perzel) both knew and agreed to this scheme to steal taxpayer dollars, according to the prosecution's star witness John Perzel.

So why didn't Corbett or the current AG charge Smith and Argall???

Both of them are still collecting a paycheck from the government. Both of them still hold a public office.

What is wrong with the AG's office?

Do we need someone to investigate them, too??

How is this possible that we have the prosecution witness implicating 2 sitting legislators and nothing has been done about it.

What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Perzel was one of the masterminds of all this, so he should be punished more severely.

Anonymous said...

So Perzel is testifying against his sidekick.

I'm sure he is just acting noble (perhaps for the first time in his life) and it has nothing to do with angling for a lesser sentence. HA HA!

What a sleeze. a dirtball is a dirtball, is a dirtball, stop crying...do the crime do the time you think your Fumo.

Everyone was talking in class, why am I the only one in the principal's office?

Everyone was speeding, why am I the only one who was pulled over?

Everyone cheats on taxes, why am I the only one who's getting audited?

Everyone was stealing from the taxpayers, why am I...you get the point!

So, his defense is "everyone does it", and I was singled out!

No, Perzel, you got caught doing it, now pay the price!

The lure of power and continual re-election really sunk Perzel's ship.

I would say that using OPM wasn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

What needs to happen is a full on Federal investigation.
US Attorney, Peter J. Smith is a good man and very competent.
Let's just hope he's already on the trail and we aren't aware of it.

If anyone can take down Corbett and his minions, it's US Attorney Peter J. Smith.

Anonymous said...

Disgraced former House Speaker John Perzel testified that a former state representative must have been aware that the House Republican caucus was illegally spending taxpayers' money on technology designed to bolster GOP election campaigns, as design by Perzel.

Perzel, testifying for the prosecution under a plea-bargain agreement, said that former Rep. Brett Feese, the House Republican Campaign Committee chairman from 2003 to 2006, "would have to have known" because the activity was common knowledge among top caucus officials, since Perzel demanded it.

But Perzel, a Republican and former Philadelphia lawmaker who has pleaded guilty to eight felony counts related to the investigation, said that he couldn't provide hard evidence that Feese was aware of illegal activity and couldn't recall Feese participating in meetings with top execs of computer-services companies that received millions in public money?????

Perzel also testified that Seaman wasn't involved in hiring computer consultants and may not have been aware of any wrongdoing????

Yet, Frank Fina has ignored this Exculpatory Information and prosecuted many when it was only Perzel that designed and demanded such a breakage of laws????

Frank Fina's further undermined his investigation when the central figure in a state investigation nicknamed "Computergate," Perzel spent less than four hours on the stand in a trial now in its fourth week.

Perzel admitted he ordered using caucus employees to do campaign work and authorizing the hiring of out-of-state consultants to develop sophisticated campaign tools to give the GOP an advantage in the biennial election battles for all-important control of the House.

Perzel acknowledged his long fascination with computer technology and his vision of building a gigantic database containing detailed facts about Pennsylvania voters that could be mined for legislative or campaign purposes.

Perzel acknowledged that political committees that he controlled had more than enough money to pay for the electioneering that prosecutors say was passed on to taxpayers.

From 2000 to 2007, the Friends of John Perzel and six other committees raised more than $17 million.

Perzel said he was proud of his fundraising prowess.

"Nobody has matched what I was able to do yet," he said. "I was pretty good at it."

Yet, Frank Fina let Sam Smith escape from any accountability???

bobguzzardi said...

Donna Miller was closely allied with Dwight Evans in bringing millions into northwest Philadelphia.

Germantown Newspapers has a series of articles about the Chelten Plaza development which makes the Beaver Initiative for Growth look penny ante.

Anonymous said...

Word is Peter J. Smith IS, in fact investigating the OAG's handling of Bonusgate and the conflict of interest with the Senate GOP / Mike Long / Governor Corbett Campaign.
This came from a reliable source.

We shall see.

Anonymous said...

PETER J. SMITH - A former prosecutor with long experience in state and federal government unlike Frank Fina, is U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Smith was deputy State Treasurer from 2005 until his retirement last year. Bob Asher's worse nightmare.

Smith was an Assistant Federal Prosecutor in Philadelphia from 1976 to 1987, rising to become Chief of the Criminal Division.

Peter Smith also served in various roles at the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency. Where Waste Management coward in fear of him.

At the state level, Smith worked in the Auditor General’s office and the Attorney General’s office. He also worked in private practice.

If Smith is coming after the Truth and Nothng But The Truth, Mike Long & Company, does not have a chance to survive his misdeeds in the senate and no cover up can erase the mountain of evidence, Frank Fina ignored.

The Evidence and people involved will squeal like Pigs and Corbett will be outed, ousted and jailed.

All one need do is ask the right questions, follow the cell phone movement, and ask Campaign Donors what happen when and where, and Corbett will crumble.

Conservative Republicans have the evidence, and will provide it in a New York Wall Street Minute!

Welcome Governor Cawley!