"During the Bonusgate investigation, we had a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg." -- Randy Feathers, Regional Director, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, 6/24/12.
While Attorney General and candidate for Governor, Tom Corbett first received a sexual abuse complaint against Jerry Sandusky in March of 2009, agents from the Attorney General's Office were not assigned to the case until just before the election in November 2010.
Sandusky was not arrested until a year after that.
Ever since Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim revealed these unfortunate details, Corbett's feeble propaganda machine has desperately sought to persuade an increasingly skeptical public that a three-year investigation of child rape is perfectly normal.
In a moment of uncharacteristic candor, Randy Feathers - a narcotics investigator, by the way - blows Corbett's reassurances out of the water.
Feathers confirms what most Pennsylvanians already knew: When Corbett should have been trying to take a serial child rapist off the street, he was scrambling to fix his botched "Bonusgate" investigation in time for the election.
No one would argue that John Perzel and Bill DeWeese should not have been prosecuted for their crimes (DeWeese never was prosecuted for his most serious crimes). But by the time Corbett received the Sandusky complaint, he'd been "investigating" the legislature for more than two years.
The only reason he was chasing after Perzel and DeWeese in 2009 is because he'd deliberately left them out of the original investigation - just as he deliberately left out the state Senate. Politics, not justice, forced him to revisit the legislature.
If Corbett were conducting a real investigation of House Republicans in 2007 and most of 2008, would he have allowed them to replace their computers? Would he and his campaign manager have been meeting with Perzel? Would he have allowed the House Republican Chief of Staff to organize a campaign fund raiser for him? Would he have waited more than a year to enforce subpoenas for documents?
Fact: Corbett was not investigating House Republicans throughout 2007 and most of 2008. He was lying about that.
If Corbett were conducting a real investigation of Bill DeWeese in 2007 and most of 2008, would he have allowed DeWeese himself to select what evidence to turn over to investigators? Would Corbett have disregarded a mountain of evidence linking DeWeese to the activities at the core of the "bonusgate" case?
Fact: Corbett may have been investigating DeWeese in the first half of 2007, while DeWeese was desperately fighting to quash Corbett's subpoenas and shield evidence. But he most definitely was not after Deweese agreed to turn over hand-selected evidence and drop his legal challenges to the probe.
Months before receiving the Sandusky complaint, Corbett was feeling the heat for his failure to investigate Republicans. He convened hearings to force House Republicans to respond to subpoenas he'd let languish for a year. Just as he realized that he'd need to indict a token Republican or two to appear impartial, it was becoming clear that House Republicans hadn't sat on their hands for most of the previous two years. Missing evidence made the investigation more difficult, sucking up more manpower and resources.
As investigators were struggling with missing documents and well-prepared witnesses to make a case against Perzel, a bombshell hit: The Tribune-Review revealed that Corbett was in possession of a smoking-gun email in which Bill DeWeese acknowledged that bonuses were awarded for campaign work.
Three weeks later, the Inquirer laid out a comprehensive case linking DeWeese to bonuses and other illegal campaign activities.
Facing accusations of partisanship, it would have been unseemly to charge another Democrat without first indicting a Republican or two. But remember: missing documents and well-prepped witnesses were hindering the investigation of Republicans.
Is it any wonder there was a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg?
Who's to say how Corbett would have handled the Sandusky investigation even if he hadn't tied up all of his agents playing catch-up on "bonusgate?" Even after Perzel and DeWeese were safely indicted, at least 10 agents from the OAG were spotted in the courtroom during each day of Mike Veon's trial, while others were busily trying to unmask Corbett's anonymous critics.
When Corbett and his cronies talk about how long the Sandusky investigation took, they're talking about the year between the time OAG agents first were assigned to the case and Sandusky's November 2011 arrest. They've studiously avoided a thorough accounting of the investigation's progress between March 2009 and Election Day 2010.