Wednesday, November 2, 2011
CORBETT BELIEVES SMITH AND ALIANO ARE STUPID
It's true. The prosecution in the "Computergate" trial essentially said so in its closing arguments:
"Claims made during the six-week trial of former state Representative Brett Feese and his aide, Jill Seaman, that there was an assumption the political work was being financed by money raised by former state House Speaker John Perzel don't add up, Fina said. If Perzel had been paying the bill, he would have made sure everyone knew it, Fina said, because that sort of largesse would have given Perzel plenty of political chips to cash in." (Patriot 11/1/11)
When does Fina think these political chips get cashed in? Maybe that isn't something that is taught at Ivy League schools, so we'll clue him in:
It's convoluted, but what Team Corbett is saying is that Feese must have known Perzel was using taxpayer funds, because he didn't tell everyone he was using campaign funds. Using the same admittedly weird argument, there's no way Team Corbett can claim Smith and Aliano didn't also know.
Sam Smith and Tony Aliano were in the room for every one of the leadership elections during the Computergate years. Knowledgeable people like Capitolwire's Pete DeCoursey write extensively about how Smith was part of Perzel's leadership election calculus and no one will say Smith wasn't in the room for the wheeling and dealing. Most tellingly, Smith was right there, pre-Computergate, at the most important leadership election of both his and Perzel's careers...the 2007 freeze-out of Perzel when Denny O'Brien was made Speaker over Perzel.
If Perzel wasn't using all those "political chips" to his advantage when he needed them most in January of 2007 (just before Corbett's legislative investigation began), then Smith - by Perzel's supposed silence about the funding source - would have discovered that all the campaign activity swirling around the caucus for years wasn't being paid for with Perzel's money. At least that is the logical conclusion necessitated by Fina's closing argument.
The Computergate grand jury presentment itemizes $20 million in computer programming and staff work that every important Republican House campaign used on its campaign. In fact, even safe incumbents like Rep. Bill Adolph benefited from this illegal use of taxpayer funds. (Page 43 grand jury presentment)
On top of this massive outlay of taxpayer money for computer databases and programming, there was an entire House Republican Caucus department called the Office of District Operations that Corbett's grand jury called "virtually a taxpayer funded, wholly owned campaign subsidiary of the House Republican Campaign Committee." (page 157 grand jury presentment) District Operations consisted of dozens of full-time taxpayer-funded staff who did nothing but campaign work for nearly every House Republican candidate and incumbent.
Corbett and Fina contend that Feese and Seaman had to know that Perzel wasn't spending campaign money on the computer gear and the Office of District Operation. They brought nearly a hundred witnesses to testify at the trial and before the grand jury to say, under oath, that all of it was paid for by taxpayer money and that they knew none of it was paid for by Perzel campaign funding.
So, according to Corbett and Fina, nearly every key staffer in the House GOP notably Feese, Seaman, Hanley, Uliana, Flickinger, Painter, Dull, and Royer - none of whom had a vote in leadership elections - all knew, but Smith and Aliano were stumbling and bumbling around clueless to all of this. It's ridiculous, and the fact that they're making this argument with a straight face speaks to how absurdly tilted in Corbett's favor the political landscape has become.