Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"Imagine if the Pennsylvania Turnpike asked every state resident with a driver's license to file a form each year, stating the number of miles traveled on the highway and remitting the proper tolls. That's crazy, right?...The latest scheme out of Harrisburg -- from the ostensibly anti-tax Corbett administration -- will apply that flawed methodology to sales tax on items purchased online. It won't work...Gov. Tom Corbett's Revenue Department is planning to include a new line on the 2011 income tax forms that will require filers to report what they spent on online purchases that went untaxed. Pennsylvanians who don't want to do the math will be allowed to use an estimate based on their income. What's likely is that many taxpayers will report zero, which means many of them will be lying. That's been the experience in other states, including Ohio, where just 46,476 of its 5 million households complied last year." (Post-Gazette 11/4/11)

This is pretty powerful stuff from the Post-Gazette editorial board earlier this month. Calling millions of average, otherwise law-abiding Pennsylvanians liars is quite shocking.

So, where's the skepticism regarding a small, insular group of people being similarly asked to self-report illegal activity that could land them in prison?

Just like his plan counting on internet shoppers to self-report their on-line sales tax bills, Corbett has allowed the State Senate Republican caucus to self-report on their illegal political activities and bonuses.

Corbett and his Republican Attorney General successors have allowed the Republican State Senate Caucus to self-investigate and self-report any evidence of campaigning illegally by its members and staff. In fact, the only contact between the Office of Attorney General and the Senate GOP has been the two voluntary appearances of former General Counsel Stephen MacNett, one of the very Senate staff members who performed campaign work on the state's dime over his many years as an employee of that caucus.  In fact, not a single State Senate employee has been subpoenaed by Corbett or his successors in the supposedly four-caucus investigation supposedly approaching its fifth year of existence. (Tribune Review 9/12/11)

Corbett and his successors expect us to believe that MacNett can be trusted to tell the truth voluntarily.  This is the same MacNett who has had past campaign run-ins with a grand jury. (Inquirer 5/9/1995)

Raise your hand if you think Mike Long will waltz in un-bidden by a subpoena to recount how he came to be known as the Sentate GOP caucus' "campaign guru"?

Does anyone really believe the Senate Republicans are going to turn over the emails and documents that explain how Drew Crompton earned a fat bonus from the taxpayers for spending a huge chunk of 2006 as a top adviser to GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann? (Tribune Review 2/4/07)

Everyone knows that the Senate GOP culture was just as partisan and political as both House caucuses.  The Orie investigation by Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala bears that out.  It took subpoenas to get to the bottom of that mess.  Meanwhile, Corbett didn't even follow the lead of a confidential informant who literally called him up on the phone. (Post-Gazette 2/19/11)

We're not lawyers here at CasablancaPA, but it is quite possible the statute of limitations clock on activities in 2006 is ticking away.  Expecting the Republicans in the State Senate to honestly report their illegal activities is just as ludicrous as expecting Pennsylvanians to self-report their on-line sales tax bills.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


"Corbett said that the efficiency of non-profits is often measured by the percentage of its budget that goes to programs or projects. Of the $4.7 million spent by [Beaver Initiative for Growth] from 2004 to 2006, only 23 percent (less than $1.1 million) was used toward actual program expenses. The other 77 percent went to salary, consultants and administrative costs." (OAG press release 3/25/09)

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett stirred up outrage in 2009 against the Mike Veon-led non-profit Beaver Initiative for Growth by pointing out that 77 percent ratio.  That ratio alone, according to Corbett, was  proof positive that BIG was rotten and corrupt.

Now, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jon Schmitz reports this morning that Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile non-profit charity spent 73 percent of its total revenue for the year ending in 2010 for salaries and benefits to employees, including the husband-wife team who earned the top two salaries. (Post-Gazette 11/27/11)

This follows Schmitz's earlier report that a large chunk of the $3 million grant Corbett awarded to the Second Mile in 2010 was headed straight for the pocket of the charity's long-time chairman and Corbett campaign contributor, Robert Poole. (Post-Gazette 11/17/11)  The heat is obviously troubling to all involved based on the evasiveness and curtness shown to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"How the Second Mile decided to award the center's construction contract to Poole, its board chairman, remains unclear.  He did not return numerous calls for comment. Representatives of his company - Poole Anderson - said they were not authorized to discuss the deal. And sometime within the last month, the company removed the project from its website. Second Mile chief executive David Woodle also declined to talk about the Poole Anderson contract in detail, saying only: 'There was a competitive bid done.'  Even so, said Otten, a charity awarding such a large contract to a member of its own board gives the appearance of a conflict of interest." (Philadelphia Inquirer 11/27/10)

Remember, candidate Corbett brought felony charges against prominent Democrat Mike Veon based on allegedly corrupt spending decisions and awarding of contracts.  The case was so flimsy that it had to be brought before a district justice twice - the second time in truncated form due to the outright erroneous conclusions his investigators originally drew. (Post-Gazette 5/28/09)

This seems to be one more reason Corbett delayed his investigation into Sandusky in 2009 and 2010.  Not only did he want to avoid blowing apart the vaunted Penn State football program before the 2010 elections, but neither did Corbett want to create major problems for campaign donors associated with Second Mile.

This morning the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeremy Roebuck goes into great depth on the convoluted ties between the Second Mile and Penn State. (Inquirer 11/27/11)  Unfortunately, he doesn't take the next step linking those ties to Corbett via campaign donations as the sports blog Deadspin did earlier this month.

Maybe Corbett is right when he says Veon's decisions to spend of millions of BIG's funding on salaries and contracts rose to the level of criminality.  As the official entrusted with oversight of non-profits, Attorney General Corbett was in a position to determine such criminality.

If so, we expect to see him call for the arrest of Robert Poole and other campaign contributors on  Second Mile's board who personally approved spending 73 percent of the funds on salaries and benefits, and directing state funds into their own pockets over the past several years, including a $3 million dollar grant Corbett personally approved.

While Attorney General and a candidate for Governor, it sure looks like Corbett wanted to delay investigating Sandusky so he wouldn't have to make such a call until after the election.

Friday, November 25, 2011


“The one thing you do not want to do as a prosecutor is go on one case. ... You want to show a continued course of action.”  Governor Tom Corbett, 11/20/11, Pennsylvania Press Club

Corbett is under harsh criticism for his failure to investigate promptly an allegation that former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a Central Mountain High School student.

The complaint was referred to Corbett, then Pennsylvania Attorney General, in March of 2009.  Investigators from the Office of Attorney General were not assigned to the case until October 2010, just before Corbett was elected governor.

Sandusky was not arrested in connection with the Central Mountain boy, and seven other alleged vicims, until earlier this month.  This week, Corbett defended the length of the investigation, saying, "The one thing you do not want to do as a prosecutor is go on one case." In other words, the investigation took so long because he had to go searching for other victims (which he didn't bother to do) before he could file charges.

Unsurprisingly, Corbett is lying. Again.

A six-year-old Northampton County girl told police in February 2010 that she had been assaulted. By December, the rapist already had been sentenced. He was arrested immediately after the complaint of a single victim.

In a case that was prosecuted by Corbett's own office - in the midst of the Sandusky investigation -  Delaware County District Judge Gerald C. Liberace was sentenced earlier this year on a sex abuse conviction involving a single victim. Remember, as a prosecutor, you never want to go on just one case. Except when you do.

In March of 2009, around the same time Corbett received the Sandusky case, state police charged Butler County physician and Boy Scout leader David Allen Evanko with sexually abusing two scouts.

Less than six months later, Corbett himself announced additional charges related to additional victims.

Just to be clear, even though the doctor already had been arrested on the original complaint, Corbett's office was able to continue the investigation and file additional charges - a procedure Corbett claims he went to great lengths to avoid in the Sandusky case. And, he managed to complete the Evanko investigation in one year.

Even cases involving multiple victims over several years - cases that were taken to a grand jury - have never taken anything close to three years to investigate. Marysville borough officials first received complaints about officer Robert J. Pavlovich Jr. in early March of 2007. The initial complaint involved two girls. By late October, investigators had identified at least 14 victims. All in just over six months.

As Attorney General, Corbett bragged that his Child Predator Unit made 250 arrests. Most of the defendants were arrested on the basis of their contact with a single "victim" - who wasn't even a child but an agent posing as one.

Is there no limit to the outrageous dishonesty Corbett can get away with?

UPDATE, 6/22/12: Journalists awaiting a verdict in the Sandusky trial report that "Prosecutors have more victims ready to come forward if Jerry Sandusky is acquitted." - precisely what Corbett claimed he could not do: "[If] you were to lose that one case, it would be much more difficult to bring charges in other cases because it would be seen by you, by the public, as vindictive."

Monday, November 21, 2011


"If you think I delayed [the child rape investigation of Jerry Sandusky] for any reasons, you're wrong." -- Pennsylvania Governor and former state Attorney General Tom Corbett, Nov. 17, 2011

It is beyond question that the investigation of Jerry Sandusky was delayed. Three years between complaint and arrest is simply incomprehensible. We don't yet know how many more children may have been victimized between the time Corbett received the complaint and his successor finally brought charges against Sandusky.

It's also very clear why Corbett didn't aggressively pursue the Sandusky case. He was frantically trying to fix his botched investigation of the legislature before launching his gubernatorial campaign.

Corbett received the Sandusky complaint in March of 2009. A single state trooper was assigned to the case. Investigators from the Office of Attorney General weren't assigned to the case until the fall of 2010 - assuring that no charges could be brought until after the election.

By March of 2009, Corbett had spent two years investigating the General Assembly. He'd had plenty of time and resources to devote to it long before the Sandusky allegations came along. But, as Corbett's opponent in the 2008 Attorney General campaign pointed out, Corbett "botched" it by failing to investigate all four caucuses at once - not that he ever had any intention of investigating all four caucuses.

"A series of contempt hearings before the Supervising Judge of the grand jury from October 2008 to December 2008, which was held for the purpose of forcing the [House Republican] caucus into compliance with subpoenas and court orders."

That's right. Corbett didn't get serious about investigating House Republicans until October 2008, nearly two years after announcing that he was investigating all four legislative caucuses.

Corbett had issued subpoenas to House Republicans as early as October 2007 - or at least, someone told the Associated Press that he did. The subpoenas were, as reporter Mark Scolforo wrote, "the first tangible evidence that the probe has extended to any of the other three caucuses ... House Democrats have complained that the focus in recent weeks has appeared to be on them."

It wasn't just House Democrats complaining. Days before the leak to the AP, Capitolwire Bureau Chief Peter L. DeCoursey had published a column suggesting Corbett's political ties to Republican politicians might inhibit the investigation. A Morning Call editorial called for Corbett to turn over the investigation to an independent prosecutor - "someone who is not seeking re-election."

But House Republicans didn't respond to the October 2007 subpoenas, which appear to have been issued merely to provide "tangible evidence" that the investigation wasn't partisan. And Corbett remained unconcerned about their lack of response for an entire year. But by the fall of 2008 scrutiny of Corbett's partisan investigation was growing more specific. The Patriot-News revealed that Corbett had allowed House Republicans to replace all their computers in the summer of 2007, confirming that he'd never had any real intention of investigating the caucus at all.

That decision would come back to haunt him when he realized the political reality that he would need to indict a Republican.

As he scrambled to play catch-up in the face of mounting accusations of partisanship, Corbett discovered, to absolutely no one else's surprise, that House Republicans hadn't obediently preserved evidence of their crimes for the two years Corbett had waited to go looking for it.

Imagine the growing panic that consumed the investigative arm of Corbett's gubernatorial campaign. "If this goes much further Corbett risks being accused of using it to launch what many expect will be a gubernatorial bid in 2010," the the Patriot-News opined in July of 2009. By then, Corbett was scrambling to recover lost evidence. The grand jury presentment outlining charges against House Republicans is rife with lamentations about the difficulty of hunting for missing documents.

Even as Corbett  desperately was chasing down a nice shiny Republican indictment he could wear as an emblem of impartiality, more embarrassment beset the investigative arm of his campaign. In March, 2009, precisely when Corbett received the Sandusky complaint, the Tribune-Review published an email, which Corbett had turned over to defendants' lawyers, in which a House Democratic staffer thanked caucus Leader Bill DeWeese for "the bonus for campaigning." DeWeese responded, "U R welcome." Three weeks later, the Philadelphia Inquirer outlined evidence that DeWeese also used a state-paid contractor for poltical work. Unable to explain why DeWeese hadn't been charged for these offenses, Corbett frantically dispatched investigators to pull together some kind of case against DeWeese.

Meanwhile, the Sandusky complaint, shielded from public eyes as it was, posed no threat to Corbett's campaign. It received a proportional amount of Corbett's attention.

As if overwhelmed OAG investigators hadn't enough to do playing catch-up on both House Republicans and DeWeese, more embarrassment hit in June 2009 - when Corbett should have been in the thick of a Sandusky investigation, if not making an arrest - as the Post-Gazette revealed that Corbett failed to act on testimony that Steve Stetler, then chair of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, authorized illegal campaign work.

Corbett managed to put together indictments of House Republicans, Bill DeWeese and Steve Stetler just under the wire. So surely he was able to devote his full attention to the Sandusky complaint in early 2010, right? Nope. The trial of Mike Veon and three aides, from jury selection to verdict, lasted nearly nine weeks, the longest trial in recent Dauphin County history. At least 10 agents from the Office of Attorney General were present in the courtroom all day, each day of the trial.

After the trial ended (with 117 acquittals) did Corbett then turn his attention to the Sandusky complaint? Nope, again. Instead of using the grand jury to investigate Sandusky, Corbett was using it improperly to gather information he hoped would maximize the sentence of someone already convicted, and to subpoena Twitter for the identities of his online critics.

Investigators from the Office of Attorney General weren't assigned to the case until the fall of 2010. By then, Corbett's victory in the gubernatorial race was virtually assured.

Corbett's failure to conduct an impartial and sincere investigation of the General Assembly in 2007 and 2008 forced him to compromise the Sandusky investigation in 2009 and 2010.  As conservative activist Chris Freind points out, "Giving priority to children who are at risk of rape and molestation is a no-brainer. But inexplicably, that wasn’t done."

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett tells the Patriot-News this morning why he green-lighted in July a $3 million grant for alleged child molester Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile:

"Yes I knew this (Sandusky investigation was under way), but I could not act publicly on this without saying certain things that would have possibly compromised the investigation" (Patriot 11/17/11)

First of all, we're not sure what would have been compromised given that the Patriot had let the cat out of the bag on the investigation four months earlier. (Patriot 3/31/11)

We wish he would just admit that the construction of the new building was very important to a large campaign contributor.

The Post-Gazette's Jon Schmitz reports this morning that The Second Mile's long-time chairman Robert Poole's company, Poole Anderson Construction, was to be the construction manager of the project. (Post-Gazette 11/17/11)

Unsurprisingly to anyone who follows how Corbett operates, Robert Poole has contributed over $12,000 to Corbett's campaigns.  Given that the construction business isn't what it used to be, we can only imagine that Poole's ability to steer this bit of business his way was helpful to his bottom line (BTW -- Corbett has a habit of ignoring how his political allies run the non-profits they are associated with).

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Norman Pattis of the Hartford Courant:

"I'm wondering why there is no investigation of the governor ... In 2009, the case involving former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sundusky landed in his lap. He convened a secret grand jury to gather evidence, including the role of university officials. He cared more for his political ambitions, however. With the case still open, he was elected governor in 2010. As governor, he joined the Penn State board of trustees. A lawyer, Corbett is presumably familiar with the loyalty he owes to Penn State as a board member. He would have us believe that he served as board member with nary a peep about the grand jury investigation of senior university administrators for their role in covering up the consequences of Sandusky's alleged lust. Perhaps he did say nothing. But there is no question that knowledge of the investigation colored his perception and influenced his judgment.

"A lawyer cannot represent both sides of a conflict. You can be loyal to only one side. When a lawyer cannot serve both masters, he is supposed to serve neither. You don't pretend all is well.

"That is what Corbett did. He should have stepped down as a trustee until the investigation was finished. He is now on a board that is paying the legal fees of administrators accused of lying to a grand jury, but firing a man who has not been accused of any crimes.

"The true north of [Corbett's] moral compass is set firmly in the direction of the press release.

"Instead of integrity, we get the release of a secret grand jury report and the governor's urging prompt and decisive action against Paterno. Corbett postures as the poster boy for integrity in a year in which all politicians are roundly condemned.

"The New York Times abandoned its role as critic to become a cheerleader. Its puff piece on Corbett reports: "The grand jury indictment had been filed under seal, but because of a computer glitch it had mistakenly been made public." Oh, really? I guess Pearl Harbor was just a training mission gone bad."

Read the column in the Hartford Courant.

Saturday, November 12, 2011



"I met with with the Attorney General's office before I was charged ... Because I didn't confirm their theory, the guns focused on me. They had a complete misunderstanding of the process. They refused to listen." -- Sean Ramaley on KDKA

Listen to the full interview on KDKA radio.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Tom Barnes of the Post-Gazette reports today on a coalition of good government groups complaining about the amount of energy company money flooding into the campaign coffers of Pennsylvania politicians. (Post-Gazette 11/11/11)

We love ya, fellas, but don't expect to ride this issue on a wave of voter outrage.  The 2005 pay-raise backlash - the uproar every activist hopes to replicate - was a rare perfect storm. Generally, a regular ho-hum attitude reigns over the antics of the knuckle-heads in the State Capitol (many people actually conflate their state legislators with their Congressman and vice versa).

There are some very, very hinky things going on in Harrisburg by specific people in power.  Yet, very rarely, if ever, do you - you, the activists, the gadflies, the agitators - single them out and call them what they are: thieves, crooks, liars, etc.  Instead, you make broad stroke indictments of "the culture" without ever singling out the bad actors and going for the jugular.  Only when you've isolated them and brought as much pressure as possible upon them, will you capture anyone's attention in a big enough way to effectuate change.

Here is a perfect example from today's Post-Gazette story:

"The liberal groups said they are hearing that House Republican leaders are using redistricting threats to line up members' votes for the 'weak' gas regulation bill. Mr. Kauffman said if a House Republican doesn't vote for the bill, he may end up 'with a thousand more Democrats in their new district.'"

There are two - and only two - individuals that have that power among the House Republican leaders - Speaker Sam Smith and Majority Leader Mike Turzai.  Why didn't you specifically call them out, by name, for what is nothing less than blatant blackmail?  Their names aren't even mentioned in the story.

Inexplicably, you even threw into the mix Congressional members of both parties who have practically no ability to do anything about the perils of hydraulic fracturing.  Ho-hum.

There are three villians in the story you want to tell -- the blackmailers Smith and Turzai who carry the (frac) water of Governor Tom Corbett, the President Harding of this generation's Teapot Dome scandal, who sold his soul for $1.6 million from the energy companies.

You accuse two politicians of blackmail, without specifically naming them or their crime, yet no one will ever hear from you again about it.

Kind of like how you filed a stunning lawsuit accusing those in the highest levels of the state legislature and the state judiciary of colluding to connect the 2005 payraise for the judiciary with protection of the newly passed gaming legislation from judicial scrutiny.  (Inquirer 2/7/06) Then, a few years later, Corbett uses a grand jury to investigate how the gaming law came into being and issues a report (with no indictments) that doesn't mention any of those listed in your lawsuit -- former GOP Representatives Ed Krebs and Scott Chadwick, former Republican Senator Bob Jubelirer, conservative activist Matthew Brouillette, ex-wife to state senate GOP campaign guru Mike Long, Suzanne O'Berry, and Mike Long himself.

Where was the outrage when Corbett completely ignored sworn statements given by some of those listed above?  We're guessing O'Berry wasn't called before the grand jury,  nor Brouillette or Krebs or Chadwick.  These people were part of a stunning chain of events you uncovered yet there was no mention of it in what was supposed to be a bombshell of a grand jury report.

Where is your outrage this week when a secretary, Jill Seaman, is convicted of 40 felonies in connection to the computergate scandal, yet the Speaker of the House Sam Smith (who signed millions of dollars in contracts, was on emails about the illegal activity and in meetings about the illegal activity) isn't even subpoenaed by the prosecution?

Until you specifically call out, by name, the few bad-actors who have the real power to change things to the carpet aggressively, you're going to continue being treated like doormats by the wider group of people you chastize instead.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A few quick observations surrounding this week's big news stories.

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?

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Once again, Tom Corbett lets the people at the top off the hook. Only this time, the world is watching.

"Paterno wasn't charged, but if Sandusky is guilty he would be guilty," writes Mike Wise of the Washington Post. "Joe Pa knew, if the charges are true. They all knew. And they never told police."

"The chief question is this: If Curley, Schultz and Spanier believed it was no longer appropriate to allow Sandusky to bring children onto the Penn State campus – an act that suggests some concern over his behavior – how could they possibly believe his actions didn’t warrant a full police investigation?" Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports asks.

Inquirer columnist Bob Ford: Joe Paterno is done.

The Post-Gazette's Gene Collier: It's truly staggering that these professional academics -- including Paterno -- when faced with an allegation so serious and so sanctimoniously mishandled by the Catholic church almost simultaneously, somehow knew only the wrong thing to do.

Around the country, everyone wants to know: if Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz are charged for failure to report a crime, why aren't Paterno and Spanier?

Welcome to Pennsylvania, and Tom Corbett's Office of Attorney General.

Paterno and Spanier aren't charged for the same reason Speaker Sam Smith  wasn't charged in "Computergate." The same reason Bill DeWeese wasn't charged "Bonusgate."  The same reason LeRoy S. Zimmerman wasn't charged in the Hershey Trust scandals. The list goes on.

The reason is that Tom Corbett's OAG simply doesn't charge the truly powerful and influential. (Until and unless he absolutely has to in order to protect his political career)

Joe Paterno, millionaire, friend of George H.W. Bush and father of Republican congressional candidate Scott Paterno - does anyone really think Corbett's OAG  in a million years was going to charge that guy?

No, Corbett's OAG only charges public figures who are already unpopular, whose guilt the public already is predisposed to believe.

While the sports pundocracy sees heinous crimes in Paterno's and Spanier's failure to act upon their mere knowledge of a crime, no one seems bothered by Smith and DeWeese's actual participation in crimes. Smith signed the checks that paid for illegal software contracts, sat in on meetings about their use, was included on emails about the progress of the illegal scheme. DeWeese authorized the allocation of caucus funds to award bonuses, acknowledged that they were for political work, was implicated in the scandal by both his top aide, and his legislative assistant, and directed a state contractor to perform political work and on and on.

The case against Jerry Sandusky makes it clear that Paterno and Spanier knew about Sandusky's crimes and never reported them, and an outraged public demands to know why they're not arrested.  The Computergate and Bonusgate cases reveal far more culpability from Smith and DeWeese, but no one even notices, much less cares.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


There is no other way around it. Former Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett believes Speaker Sam Smith and Smith's Chief of Staff Anthony Aliano are stupid... dumb... clueless... idiots.

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:

Leadership elections.

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.