"How many times do you have to get hit in the face with a brick to know what's what?" – Prosecutor Patrick J. Blessington, during closing argument in "Bonusgate" trial.
How many times, indeed, Patrick J. Blessington?
According to the Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams's campaign improperly sent an email to his deputies on their public email addresses, inviting them to a fundraiser.
Patrick J. Blessington, the former deputy Attorney General who prosecuted state officials and staff for precisely this kind of abuse of office, is one of those deputy district attorneys.
Did Blessington - who proclaimed unequivocally that "It's against the law, a crime, to use taxpayer money to help somebody win an election" - open an investigation into this abuse of authority?
He did not. Which is not surprising, given his long history of overlooking illegal campaign work when it's performed by his own employer.
His office prosecuted state legislators for putting political operatives on the state payroll, but Blessington looked the other way when his own boss did the same thing.
His office prosecuted state legislators and staff for doing political work on state time, using state equipment, but Blessington didn't seem bothered by his own colleagues' political work on state time, using state resources.
John J. Contino, executive director of the state Ethics Commission, specifically compared the email to the "Bonusgate" case that Blessington prosecuted. He said the conflict-of-interest clause in the state Ethics Act has been interpreted to prohibit political activity when the public official uses aspects, benefits or attributes of the currently held incumbent office to advance those political or pecuniary interests.
Public election law expert Gregory M. Harvey said the fund-raising email could be construed as a violation of the "criminal prohibition of the use of public resources to carry on political activity.
Another lawyer called it "political macing" and said it could be a violation of both the state Ethics act and the federal Hatch Act.
Another said the email could be construed as "coercion."
Make no mistake, a similar email from a state legislator would have prompted Blessington to investigate. But when the perpetrator is Blessington's boss, Blessington sees no evil.