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.