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Corbett Jams Kane, Takes PSU Drivers Seat

TomCorbett portraitJust two weeks before Kathleen Kane becomes Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Gov. Tom Corbett made a big effort to reappropriate the narrative of Penn State University.

Corbett announced Wednesday that the state of Pennsylvania will file a federal lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, alleging that it went beyond its authority in levelling strict sanctions against PSU in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, seized upon the opportunity for publicity for their own benefit to make a showing of aggressive discipline on the backs of the citizens of our commonwealth and Penn State University,’’ Corbett said, “and this is why I have chosen to fight this in the courts.’’

The announcement was designed to make a big, public splash. In its response the NCAA called the suit an affront to Sandusky’s victims, meanwhile one of the prosecution’s primary witnesses, Victim No. 4, spoke out in favor of Corbett’s suit.

Corbett has been under sustained fire for his role in the evolving scandal. Some allege that he dragged his feet on the Sandusky investigation, others criticize his role as a trustee of PSU, others have said he was too compliant with the NCAA in the first place.

The down side? It’s picking a scab on a sensitive issue.

The first political benefit of the lawsuit is clear: it appeals to the state’s sizeable PSU alumni community. Corbett’s was harshly criticized by many alumni over comments he made when the sanctions were first applied. “Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program,” he said at the time.

The second is indirect, but important: it helps jam Kathleen Kane.

Normally within the purview of the Attorney General’s office, Corbett said he sought approval from outgoing Republican AG Linda Kelly to pull the trigger on the suit. It’s not clear how long the move has been in process; Corbett attributed the delay to his desire to wait until after football season.

But the announcement comes less than two weeks before Democrat Kathleen Kane is set to be sworn in as Pa.’s new AG. Kane has been one of Corbett’s loudest critics on his handling of the Sandusky case and promised to conduct a full review. It’s certain to be a high profile process, and a potential headache for Corbett’s re-election campaign in 2014.

Kane issued a statement saying she hadn’t been briefed on the suit and wouldn’t comment until she had been.

“As I was not consulted or briefed beforehand on the Commonwealth’s action against the NCAA, I must reserve comment until I have had an opportunity to review the case filing and receive a full briefing on the matter,” she said.

So for the first time in a long time, Corbett is in the driver’s seat on PSU. Instead of landing a big blow during her first month on the job, Kane must decide either to go along with the Governor’s suit – and cede the goodwill it may muster – or risk appearing overly partisan.

26 Responses

  1. Let Corbett run his mouth on this lawsuit against the NCAA, it will further draw attention and scrutiny to what he did and the way he did it. That can’t bode well for Corbett, actions such as the ones he took to drag down Joe Paterno, Spanier and Curley, tying them and Penn State (and Penn State football) to Sandusky’s reprehensible activities (but going out of his way to deflect attention from The Second Mile and the campaign contributions he took from TSM board members, etc.) will always be the albatross around his neck. Corbett makes Slick Willy Bill Clinton look like an amateur with the way Corbett maneuvered the Sandusky investigation to make PSU look like the bad guys, however, whenever one digs into human misery and throws it at others for political gain, it also stains the one throwing it around.

    Corbett made many questionable decisions regarding the Sandusky prosecution, one main one, why did he not recuse himself from voting to oust Paterno as a conflict of interest as someone who led the Sandusky investigation at one point? He wanted to be the “big man” in this case but didn’t consider he will always be tied to Sandusky and homosexual child molestation as a result. And of course hand picking the one who would ultimately bring the charges, Linda Kelly, and orchestrating the twists and turns of the case, then the ouster of Paterno, Corbett’s painting yellow-bellied Todd McQueary as the hero (even though he did NOTHING to stop Sandusky at the time he committed the acts in the shower and McQueary was THE ONLY ONE who could have stopped Sandusky since he was THE ONLY ONE WHO SAW IT OCCUR, NOT JOE PATERNO, NOT GRAHAM SPANIER, NOT TIM CURLEY) and painting Paterno as the chief villain destroying Paterno’s legacy and virtually negating every good thing Joe Pa did in his life. When you destroy a good man like Paterno you better make sure you have ALL your ducks in a row, personally I don’t think Corbett does and think this will derail the remainder of his political career as this exposes him to big time scrutiny and criticism every time he runs his mouth. In the end it was Corbett’s choice to do things the way he did and now he is finding out how much those choices will cost him. You pro-Corbett defenders are just too blind to see the real implications of his actions and how anyone connected in anyway to Sandusky are tainted as a result. Stay tuned, this whole thing is just getting warmed up…

  2. “NOW he has found an issue where he stands with the people-rich football frak alums .”-Sue

    frak alum … Why does this speak to me? Well said indeed.

  3. Kathleen3: so you are saying that you don’t want Kane to attack Republicans but I guess you were ok with Corbett as AG using tax dollars to attack the Dems while the Reps were doing the same thing and most were let slide or evidence was missing.

  4. Clearly Corbett is trying to pander to the Paterno Cult members with this suit, but it will backfire since they still hate his guts.

    [Not to mention alienating voters appalled by the actions/inactions of PSU administrators allowing Sandusky to roam free…not to mention fans of Pitt and Temple, also D-1 PA football schools, who will resent the use of PA Taxpayer resources to pursue a suit that is designed to benefit PSU football…]

  5. So am I the only one who sees right through this as a desperate attempt on Tommy-boys part to win back psu alum ( sorry one term Tom …as a psu alum you lost me two and a half years ago…btw leave psu alone…haven’t you done enough damage already). Or are you trying to undercut Kathleen Kane. Go to it Kate…turn over every rock….I’m sure you will find the snake!

  6. The point of my posts is that Tom Corbett, Penn State trustee, was strangely silent when Penn State trustees and administrators were negotiating a deal with the NCAA in July, six months ago. Penn State did harbor a serial child rapist and molester, did it not? Trustee Corbett was not so silent when he was pressing for the firing of Joe Pa, two games away from his own announced retirement.

    The Kane Freed shellacking was, as Bruce Castor said, a referendum on Tom Corbett as Attorney General

    Only crashing poll numbers can explain this desperate, self-promoting, publicity stunt, grandstanding for humiliated Penn State alumns and fans. Sadly, for Tom Corbett is using tax dollars for a private, partisan political campaign, which is the description of Bonusgate.

  7. Kudos to Corbett. Perhaps Kane will get the message that the office purchased for her demands she direct her energies to representing the interests of Pennsylvanians. Our taxes that pay her salary must not be used by the DNC and Kane to attack every and any Republican in sight.

  8. Bob is right both on the law and the politics.
    Having maimed our education system, destroyed our ability to protect our environment, sold our water and forests to his gas buddies, ignored our crumbling roads and bridges and sent women ‘s rights back to the 19 th century NOW he has found an issue where he stands with the people-rich football frak alums .

  9. Premature to condemn or praise the Givernor. Let’s read the complaint and, particularly if invoking Sherman Antitrust Act, wonder about standing to sue of plaintiff whether Governor himself or Commonwealth.

    One might conceive of new AG going after Penn State trustees (of which incumbent Givernor may be one) for negligently adopting Erickson’s sign off on NCAA sucker deal and/or seeking to kill off NCAA deal as ultra vires with imposition of constructive trust on monies alreafy paid.

  10. Corbett is an member of Penn State board of trustees. Corbett did not speak out on the NCAA deal as he did when he pressed the trustees to fire Joe Pa two games short of his announced retirement. Now Corbett becomes activist.

  11. Inexplicably, knowing what he knew, Governor Corbett authorized (and then cancelled after it was made public) $3,000,000 to Second Mile Foundation by signing Act 130 of 2011 into law on 22 December 2011, about a month and a half after the Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment had been made public and Jerry Sandusky ignominiously and very publicly arrested on 5 November 2011.

  12. Inexplicably, knowing what he knew, Governor Corbett authorized (and then cancelled after it was made public) $3,000,000 to Second Mile Foundation by signing Act 130 of 2011 into law on 22 December 2011, about a month and a half after the Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment had been made public and Jerry Sandusky ignominiously and very publicly arrested on 5 November 2011.

    Legislative History Senate Bill 1054 enacted by Governor22 December 2011

    The project list, line 174, shows Second Mile Foundation authorized (subsequently cancelled) for $3,000,000.

  13. This is a publicity stunt in response to polling showing Governor’s re-elect numbers going into Santorum territory.

    There is no reason for the Governor of Pennsylvania to be involved in a private matter between two private organizations which made an agreement, with advice of very competent and expensive counsel. Penn State has honored, and ratified, the agreement with partial payments.

    Corbett is politicizing a private matter, and spending taxpayer money, for private personal political gain because, we can infer, that internal Corbett 2014 polling is showing Corbett as a General Election loser and Bruce Castor a viable primary challenger.

  14. I am repulsed that Corbett recklessly recalled the horrific stench of the historic Penn State humiliation. The gravamen of his lawsuit is to force the NCAA to spend the entire $60 million Sandusky-fine in Pennsylvania. This is, arguably, an embarrassingly small-ball, publicity-stunt, prophylaxing against an upcoming KK-initiated internal-investigation of why he allegedly had assigned only one trooper to investigate these molestation-charges while he had been AG.

    The University agreed to accept the NCAA’s sanctions last July. Both are private corporations, and Big-Government should not interfere with or intervene in private matters between two private corporations. There is no legal justification for requiring a private corporation (legally, a “person” no different than a private individual) to spend monetary resources in Pennsylvania.

    Amazingly, he called the NCAA’s Draconian mandates “overreaching” and “unlawful,” even claiming the NCAA should not even have sanctioned Penn State, thereby abandoning its core-mission. Perhaps he forgot that these harsh measures had supplanted their widely-rumored alternative [the “Death Penalty”], dissolution of the entire football program. Perhaps he forgot that his having led the effort to fire JoePa [hours after he had announced his retirement, and weeks prior to his death from small-cell anaplastic lung cancer] occurred prior to any formal investigation.

    Indeed, this litigation constitutes a transparent ploy to distract attention from allegations of dereliction-of-duty in the Freeh Report by both Penn State’s aloof administrators [plus attorney Cynthia Baldwin, former PA-Supreme] and unctuous, untrustworthy trustees [unabashedly incurious throughout most of 2011]. There is a bipartisan, massive, influential Penn State network that recalls PSU’s JoePa leading a program [during our entire adult-lives] that consistently prioritized academics [and that Nixon unwisely besmirched in ’69]. Corbett must explain candidly why the worst-possible PR-outcome has apparently transpired seriatim under his aegis.

    {Disclaimers: I am a GOP-Committee-Person [for two decades] and met Corbett @ three campaign-related events during 2010 [March, September, October]; I am also a PSU-Graduate [’72, B.S.] who harbors mixed emotions regarding the fact that Eddie Robinson is now Division I’s winningest-coach.}


    ESPN story, vide supra [page 241, in particular]

  15. One term Tom? Is that what the libs in Filthadelphia are telling all of their minions to say? Pathetic. I guess another state-wide beating of another garbage democrat is in order. Who’s up next? Dahlkemper? LOL. Crazy Joe Hoeffel again? Even crazier Joe Sestak again? Patrick Murphy again? Or maybe another “conservative” western PA dem, like Wagner? Wow, democrats have a pretty bare closet to work with, so it’s no wonder they resort to childish little insults. Face it, the PA democrat party is in complete shambles and they are totally out of touch with Pennsylvanians. In fact, democrats are ashamed and disgusted by everyday pennsylvanians. Apparently if someone doesn’t eat artichoke and drive a hybrid they are not worthy of being afforded the status of a human being. Democrats can go straight to Hell.

  16. Corbett sees the writing on the wall for his re-election chances. He knows that his feet dragging during the initial investigtation of child abuse has torpedoed his re-election. Now he’s trying to make up for lost time. Too bad EVERYBODY sees through it

  17. If political opportunity is something you dislike pete, then what are your thoughts on our President? He threw dead Americans under the bus for political opportunity.

  18. This Governor has to be the worst public servant in Pennsylvania’s history. Everything he does reeks of nothing more than political opportunity. But Corbett is too incompetent to realize that he should stay out of this one. Let me get this straight Corbett completely bungles the Sandusky investigation (3+ years to take a child predator off the streets), then he gets his tentacles in bungling PSU’s response to the crisis. Now he wants to sue the NCAA for imposing the sanctions that PSU AGREED TO in a joint decree? Let’s see how quickly the state “settles” with little or no results when it receives NCAA’s request for documents that will reveal Corbett’s and PSU trustees incompetence in how it handled everything. Good luck!

  19. So Corbett got around to PSU after voter ID and his thumbing his nose at a PA insurance exchange! If his staff thinks this lawsuit is love potion # 9 for the many disgruntled PSU alums, God Bless them. What are they going to do if the rumors are true that GRICAR is going to return from the “dead” in early 2013? Well that will get him on FOX NEWS! It’s as simple as ABC: Anybody but Corbett!

  20. Jack-

    Your statement is STUPID. ANY responsible and competent attorney would review the suit and have the opportunity to form an impression of it.

  21. Apparently Gleason told one term Tom that one of his lawyer buddies needed his palms greased a little bit so he decided to give him this civil lawsuit gig!

  22. Kane, not having practiced law in several years, issued a statement saying “I don’t really know what a civil lawsuit is or how you go about doing that, but I’ll look into it and get back to you.”

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