Can state Attorney General Tom Corbett’s agents conduct an impartial investigation of Delaware County GOP officials who submitted nominating petitions for Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign?
Because that’s where their probe of former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan’s congressional petitions could take them.
John F. McNichol, the longtime chairman of the Upper Darby Republican Party, lists himself as the circulator of hundreds of voter signatures gathered last month to place Corbett on the Republican primary ballot for governor.
McNichol confirmed this week that he had signed a sworn affidavit identifying himself as the circulator of Meehan signatures in Ridley Park, even though someone else had circulated them.
And McNichol might have done the same thing with dozens – possibly hundreds – of Corbett signatures.
That type of activity, depending on the circumstances, could expose him to criminal prosecution. The forms that McNichol signed were notarized by a top official in the Delaware County Republican Party.
Yesterday, several voters in Ridley Park who signed the petitions that McNichol submitted for Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign told the Daily News that neighborhood resident Steve Valerio was the circulator, not McNichol.
“It was Steve,” said Warren Thomas, who signed petitions that Valerio circulated for Meehan, Corbett and Republican state Rep. Nick Miccarelli. Valerio, who could not be reached last night, took credit for circulating the Miccarelli petitions, but apparently gave the Meehan and Corbett petitions to McNichol, who then claimed to have circulated them by signing his own name.
McNichol said on Wednesday that, to the best of his knowledge, Valerio had simply forgotten to sign the Meehan petition. McNichol could not be reached yesterday for an explanation of why he also signed petitions for Corbett that he apparently didn’t circulate.
It is unlikely that McNichol would have gone door-to-door collecting hundreds of signatures for Meehan and Corbett over a four-day period, as he is 73 and recovering from an extended hospital stay.