The US Department of Justice recently indicted former Governor Bob O'Donnell in Virginia for accepting gifts from a businessman in exchange for favors (Associated Press 1/21/2014). Now, it is hard at work in New Jersey investigating Governor Chris Christie's involvement in the lane closures onto the George Washington Bridge and real estate developments in Hoboken.
When will one of the US Attorneys in Pennsylvania begin an investigation of Governor Tom Corbett's relationship with fracking waste hauler John Moran?
There were gifts exchanged in return for very exclusive access for Moran and favors to his business. That certainly rises to the level of graft outlined by the O'Donnell indictment. And, we're talking about toxic fracking waste from the shale gas extraction industry. That has to be as important an issue as tying up traffic headed onto the George Washington Bridge for a few days.
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Will Bunch has done a fantastic job showing how within the span of a few months, Corbett received vacations and other gifts from Moran in exchange for a blind eye from the Corbett administration's Department of Environmental Protection. (Inquirer 1/16/13) In short, Corbett decided to allow millions of gallons of fracking waste to roll through dozens of Pennsylvania cities and counties in exchange for helicopter rides and a free vacation (State Impact 1/20/12)
Oh, Corbett tried to hide the gifts from the public, too. (Inquirer 1/20/12)
US Attorneys may also want to check into how Corbett used agents from the Office of Attorney General to intimidate Democratic State Representative John Galloway during Corbett's gubernatorial campaign in 2010. (Daily News) Galloway had the temerity to question and have a public shouting match with the Attorney General over Corbett's laughably selective use of the grand jury investigating the state legislature.
Keep in mind that the grand jury report on the PA General Assembly as a whole - not just the bonusgate figures - said "hundreds of legislative employees who, although paid by taxpayer dollars to do legislative work, do campaign work on state time." (28th Statewide Grand Jury Report Number One) So, when agents with subpoena power showed up at Galloway's office immediately after his spat with the Attorney General, it wasn't a subtle message from Corbett to the legislator that "you will be next if you don't shut up."
In New Jersey, US Attorneys are investigating how Christie's Lieutenant Governor was a messenger to the Hoboken mayor on a controversial real estate development. How are two law enforcement officers barging into Galloway's office any less a scene of intimidation that that? Based on the grand jury report of the ENTIRE state legislature, Galloway certainly had reason to be concerned if subpoenas started landing in his Capitol and district offices. Just look at what is happening to State Senator Leanna Washington after someone decided to look a bit closer at the work her taxpayer funded staff did on her campaign (Inquirer 10/24/13).
Maybe one of Pennsylvania's three US Attorneys are already investigating Corbett's connections to Moran or his unethical use of the Office of Attorney General as a tool of political intimidation. If not, there certainly is enough here - and publicly reported - to look into. Let's hope they get to work.