Tuesday, January 21, 2014


"The Kane report is the “X” factor in Corbett's re-election campaign this year. If it hammers [Gov. Tom] Corbett, which is likely, [Attorney General Kathleen] Kane will be accused of saving it for an election year. Wrapping up the probe by the end of 2013 would have been better. -- Brad Bumsted, Tribune-Review, 1/18/14

If you don't know why this is possibly the most ironic passage ever written by a Capitol correspondent in the history of Pennsylvania politics, perhaps you never read this one:

"We, too, are concerned at the length of time this process [Corbett's investigation of the legislature] is taking. It is fully more than two years since Corbett's office began working on the issue ...If this goes much further Corbett risks being accused of using it to launch what many expect will be a gubernatorial bid in 2010." -- Patriot-News editorial, 7/12/09

The very investigation that Kane will be accused of politicizing if she releases findings too close to the election was precipitated by Corbett's concern that he would be accused of politicizing an investigation if he released findings too close to an election.

We have demonstrated repeatedly - and the lead investigator on the case has admitted - that Corbett blew off the Sandusky complaint in 2009 because he was obsessed with nailing down indictments of House Republican "Speaker Emeritus" John Perzel and House Democratic Craven Coward Bill DeWeese before the start of an election year.

The deeper irony is that the investigation already had been politicized to an unprecedented degree, without a shred of pushback from either the press or the voters.

It's still stunning that Corbett's September 2008 announcement of a "moratorium" on additional charges in the legislative investigation wasn't met with incredulous howls of mockery.

In essence, what Corbett had announced was that weeks before Election Day, he was happy to stage a dog-and-pony show of a hearing accusing Democrats (of 272 counts which resulted in acquittals or were dropped), but he didn't want to influence that same election by charging any Republicans with wrongdoing. Bumsted still thinks it is a dandy policy to suppress negative information about GOP candidates until after Election Day, suggesting "Here's a novel idea: Kane could publicly announce the report [on the Sandusky case] won't be released until Nov. 5 regardless of when it's completed."

What made Corbett's 2008 "moratorium" completely ludicrous - as any reporter who had bothered to read the presentment could've told us - was that Corbett was nowhere near prepared to indict a Republican by Election Day 2008. When he announced his "moratorium," Corbett had not even begun to investigate House Republicans in earnest. It was a month after that announcement that he convened hearings to force House Republicans to comply with subpoenas that the caucus had ignored, with impunity, for a full year.

So: in 2008, Corbett announced that he didn't want to politicize an investigation that he'd already irredeemably politicized by announcing charges in an investigation that he hadn't even begun. Six years later, it's Kane, who stands a chance of exposing how Corbett's bungled political maneuvering delayed capture of child rapist for nearly three years, who's accused of playing politics.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


"...how did bonus gate interfere w/ sandusky?" former Patriot-News columinst @LauraVecsey asks us via Twitter.

As many have suggested, then-gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Tom Corbett botched his so-called investigation of the legislature in 2007 by investigating only one of four "potential targets:"
"If I have four potential targets, and I think they all might be involved in the same thing, and if I go to house A and take all the evidence out and wait two years to go after B, C and D, there’s not going to be any evidence in B, C and D,” he said. “What you do is you have to swoop in all at one time. What you do is you have four targets, and you say, ‘OK, we’re going to execute search warrants — boom.’ And you go in and you take everything out,” he said. “You take the boxes of files, you take the computers, you take everything out. *

That's what a responsible prosecutor would do, if he or she actually were investigating a possible crime. Corbett was not. He was a politician with his eye on the Governor's Mansion, looking for good publicity (and perhaps some valuable goodwill from House Republicans), so he set his sights on House Democrats alone. But Bill DeWeese's legal maneuverings threatened to drag the case on past the point of political advantage, so he entered into a negotiation with DeWeese to gain evidence on his colleagues and underlings.

He timed the arrests and preliminary hearing right before the 2008 legislative and attorney general elections, and the trials would wrap up just in time for the 2010 Gubernatorial race. Perfect!

But things weren't going as smoothly as Corbett had hoped.  Accusations of partisanship forced him to find a Republican to indict - a task complicated by the fact that he'd allowed those same Republicans to dump the computers where evidence might be stored. (Who could've predicted that would happen?)

With evidence missing and witnesses stonewalling, Team Corbett was in a frenzy in late 2008 and early 2009 trying to build a Republican indictment.

In March of 2009, in the middle of this frenzy, two things happened. The sexual abuse complaint against Jerry Sandusky landed on Corbett's desk. And the Tribune-Review published irrefutable evidence that DeWeese had been complicit in the bonus scandal. (Evidence, we remind you, that had been in Corbett's possession since the fall of 2007. We further remind you that DeWeese never was charged in connection with illegal bonuses or any of the caucus-wide activities at the heart of the original "Bonusgate" scandal, despite ample evidence of his involvement. He in fact invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the "Bonusgate" trial.)

"During the Bonusgate investigation, we had a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg," Randy Feathers, lead agent on the Sandusky case, told the Altoona Mirror.  His admission has received remarkably little media attention given the public outrage over the length of the investigation.

Why did it take so long? It took so long because nearly everybody in the Office of Attorney General was busy in 2009 trying to indict DeWeese and John Perzel before the end of the year.

Why was Corbett still investigating DeWeese and Perzel nearly three years after supposedly launching a probe of "all four caucuses?"  Because a) he lied, and didn't launch a probe of "all four caucuses" in 2007 and b) because he entered a "negotiation" with DeWeese in 2007 for the sake of political expediency.

* If just one more Corbett apologist drags out the tired and discredited excuse that he had to investigate House Democrats first because they allegedly were "destroying evidence," so help us we will turn this blog around and slap you with our ring hand. It's both false and illogical.