In the wake of the earth-shattering events unfolding in Happy Valley, the Patriot-News' editorial demanding the resignations of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier is a great example of statewide editorial opinion regarding "higher standard" to which those in positions of great authority need to be held.
"The attorney general has determined that Paterno and Spanier did everything the law required. But a university president must be held to a higher standard. The most famous coach in college football history must be held to a higher standard." (Patriot 11/8/11)
We couldn't agree more, but we can't help but notice the sad lack of editorializing about the higher standard to which Speaker Sam Smith should also be held, for what occurred under his watch in the "Computergate" scandal. Sure, Smith says he was duped by others and given incomplete information, but isn't that what Paterno and Spanier have been saying this week, too?
Deputy Attorney General Frank "Anybody who violated the law is going to get it" Fina loves to talk about how the "Bonusgate" and "Computergate" trials should be sending messages to the legislature:
"'I sure hope the message is getting delivered over there -- that they're there for the best interest of the people, and the best interest of the people only, and they should not be using the money of the people for personal efforts,' Fina said." (Associated Press 11/9/11)
Yet, we think the actions of gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's probe of the legislature has sent a mixed message to the members of the General Assembly. Especially when you consider that contrary to all the tough talk from Fina about ne'er-do-wells "getting it", former State Representative Matt Wright has yet to be indicted for running a political operation exactly like the belatedly-indicted Representative Bill DeWeese's. It's all here in the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission's 2009 decision fining Wright $10,000. We bet Mike Veon, John Perzel, Brett Feese and Steve Stetler wished they could get the same deal as Wright.
Speaking of Ethics opinions, in a recently published opinion, we couldn't help but notice the prominence the Ethics Commission gave to a series of phone calls a township supervisor made in a illegal scheme for his personal benefit:
"Palmiero and other people involved in the project made multiple calls to Kaltenbaugh -- but not the other two supervisors -- before and after the vote, the ruling says." (Tribune Review 11/9/11)
So, rougly two dozen phone calls are proof of malfeasance concerning a roughly $9,000 scheme, but the hundreds of phone calls made by gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett and his campaign staff made to and from the taxpayer funded offices of the Attorney General using their campaign cell phones have yet to be examined for either ethics or campaign finance violations.
Finally, there is more handcuff hijinks from the Office of Attorney General. Senior Deputy Attorney General Kenneth Brown was quite adamant after catching flak for how bonusgate and computergate defendants were being paraded around that everyone arrested for a felony is shackled:
"A felony is a felony, and if it is a felony, you get cuffed. The law makes no distinction for white collar crimes, and neither do we." (Patriot News 11/13/09)
It's the law! Or, is it? Some of those arrested in relation to gubernatorial candidate Corbett's legislative investigation were cuffed and some weren't. Now, check out the picture accompanying this post. That's the now-infamous duo of Curley and Schultz walking into their arraignment on Monday...uncuffed.
Brown is either full of poop or an ignorant jackass. Either way, how did he ever get to become a Senior Deputy Attorney General when he has blatantly allowed the law as he adamantly interprets it to be broken or just makes it up as he goes along?