Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Many CasablancaPA readers have been asking us what's up with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party's silence on the explosive revelations found in Friday's grand jury presentment revealing the massive amount of illegal campaign work ordered by Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.  If you haven't had a chance to read it, check it out here.  It rivals everything found in the bonusgate presentments from 2008 and 2009.

Why is there no call for her immediate resignation?  There is no gray area when it comes to judicial staff and resources being used for political purposes.  It is strictly verboten.  Judicial staff can't even volunteer for political campaigns.  Period.  (Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, In Re: Prohibited Political Activity By Court Appointed Employees)

The only comment from any sort of Democratic leader is found today in the Tribune Review, and it is a desultory shrug:

"State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's name appears more often in a recent grand jury report than the report's target, her sister Janine Orie. Testimony in the report suggests Melvin, whose 2009 election gave Republicans a one-vote majority on a court that could determine the shape of Pennsylvania's congressional districts, could become ensnared in the widening criminal case against her sisters Janine, 57, her former aide, and Jane, 50, a Republican state senator from McCandless. Janine and Jane Orie are charged with using state-paid staff to perform campaign work. An Allegheny County grand jury presentment released last week includes testimony from one witness saying Melvin did the same thing. Melvin, 55, of Marshall, has not been charged...State House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, led the prosecution of Larsen in the Senate. Dermody declined to comment, but his spokesman, Bill Patton, said he's "closely following" the Ories' case." (Tribune Review 12/20/11)

The collective yawn from the Democratic Party so far is especially curious given how quickly many members of the House Democratic Caucus were so quick to call for then-Majority Leader Bill DeWeese to resign his post as caucus leader after the first bonusgate arrests were made in July of 2008.

There was now-Senator John Yudichak, Representatives Bill Keller, Dan Frankel (Capitolwire 7/16/08), Harry Readshaw (Capitolwire 7/17/08), Matt Smith (Post-Gazette 7/18/08), Josh Shapiro (Capitolwire 8/8/04), Eugene DePasquale (Capitol Ideas blog 8/6/08), Jesse White (Jesse White blog 8/6/08), Jared Gibbons (Beaver County Times 8/8/08), and, yes, even Frank Dermody. (Tribune Review 8/21/08)

Remember, DeWeese wasn't even mentioned in the first bonusgate presentment, and this was a year and a half before the presentment was handed down against him in December of 2009.  At the time all these calls for resignation were happening, DeWeese was less culpable according to the grand jury report than Orie Melvin has been shown to be in the two presentments released by Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappalla so far.

What's the hold up now?

Orie Melvin is part of the GOP establishment who has ripped away at efforts to reform health care, wants to strip collective bargaining rights away from workers, wants to end prevailing wage laws, make it harder to hold accountable big corporations who put profits over all else, gut public education, oh, and gave us the latest reapportionment maps.

And, it turns out that she used illegal methods to get onto the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in order to make rulings that will stick it to Pennsylvanians at every turn.

The time to act is now.  If someone in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party establishment doesn't call for Orie Melvin to resign, then no one else will.


Anonymous said...

Frank Dermody is a great guy, smart guy, but he lacks the leadership guts necessary to lead the Democratic Party.

Dermody problem is his wife works for the biggest Republican law Firm in Pennsylvania, Reed Smith, they fought Collective Bargaining and Unions for major Corporate Interests.

The fat paycheck his wife brings home cannot be endangered and thus his silence on Re=Districting, Republican Judges, House, and Senate Campaigning, and of course Corbett Prosecution Misconduct that actually put Dermody in power keeps him mute, fat, and happy.

You people keep attacking DeWeese but you keep ignoring the real problems of compromised Democrats too afraid to lead.

Frank Dermody prefers vacations and missed votes to leadership and confronting the injustices of the Republican Party.

Sorry but true!

bobguzzardi said...

Regardless of policy positions on Unions or anything else, Corruption is corruption. Equal Justice for All.

Mike Veon is in jail for six years. Should Sen. Orie get less?

Corrupting the judiciary and the Senate for crazed, out of control ambition for power and prestige is worse than business as usual Bonusgate crimes.

My question is "Where Are the Republicans?" but I think CasablancaPa has answered that.

The House Republicans owe the Taxpayers $20 million. Pay Up!

Sen. Orie's actions and Justice Orie Melvin's actions and sister Jennine Orie's actions are beyond outrage.

Good on CasablancaPa and all the best for an even more productive New Year.

Anonymous said...

Frank Dermody did a very good job on taking on the Free State Police Zogby's Wife Budget Director failure to pass a proper budget.

Frank was articulate, specific, and passionate to his credit.

Was he has good as Veon and DeWeese, no, but he has been the leader only a few years.

Kudos to Frank.

Anonymous said...

DeWeese Nails AG Corbett for covering up Sandusky Crimes with One Lone Staye Trooper And Then Blamed Joe Paterno!

9:00 pm On the Issues with Rep. Bill DeWeese


Long overdue, and why more Democrats and Republicans do not get together and ask Corbett to explain his actions to allow children to be abused.

Corbett is indeed hiding something that in the end will remove Corbett out of office.

Anonymous said...

Frank Dermody is a leader in name only. The problem we have is he made it to leadership because he didn't piss anyone off, and he didn't because he never took a stand on anything. Look at how many bills he wrote or sponsored- virtually none unless you count congratulating the Pittsburgh Ballet. The republicans beat us because they showed leadership and direction, the wrong direction, but none the less a clear direction. They were organized and had a clear objective. Unless we get Frank out, we're not going to make any progress against the republicans. He even voted for Turzai's redistricting plan that screwed us completely. It may be the only way is to have him get defeated in the election so we can at least get a new leader. Otherwise it's another 2 years of being in the backseat.