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In 2012 and 2014, Sandusky is Dems’ Play

State Rep. Tim Briggs (left, D-Montco) pushed to bring HR 520 to the House floor. Kathleen Kane is running for Pa. Attorney General

It’s not common to hear loud criticism of prosecutors who convict a pedophile on 45 of 48 counts. But that’s exactly what’s happening to Gov. Tom Corbett over the way he handled the case of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

On Wednesday, Pa. House Democrats made a statement. They sought to bring up debate on bill which would request the U.S. attorneys office review the time frame of the matter, specifically to determine whether the investigation was delayed for political reasons. Corbett was running for Governor at the time his office took the reins of the case, and appeared to move slowly on the investigation until after he won election in 2010.

A case that impugned Pa. institutions like Penn State football and Joe Paterno could have been a tough sell on the campaign trail.

It’s a non-binding resolution, but it was enough to force House Republicans into retreat. Speaker Sam Smith gavelled the end of session and the current status of the measure is unclear.

From Mark Scolforo’s Associated Press report:

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley called it a case of House Democrats “playing politics with an outstanding and complete investigation.”

“What they are doing,” he said, “is trying to victimize the victims again.”

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said he hoped to learn whether the timing of the investigation was manipulated to help Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign.

“I think it’s something we ought to look into,” he told reporters after the session ended, predicting if the resolution comes up for a vote it will pass overwhelmingly.

A recent poll from Franklin and Marshall showed why the issue is a weak spot for Republicans. Only 17 percent of respondents said they thought Corbett did a good or excellent job handling of the case while he was Attorney General. 49 percent said they’d like to see the whole thing reviewed by the next Attorney General.

It’s political gold if it can be used without seeming too exploitative. House Resolution 520 – which calls for more transparency – is a clever way to walk the line.

And Democrats are putting it to work. Press releases on the subject from Pa. House challengers are already coming in.

“As a person who touts being a former prosecutor and head of the sex crimes unit here in Montgomery County, I expected better from Representative Stephens,” said Rep. Todd Stephens’s (R-Montco) challenger Will Sylianteng. “In fact, he should be leading the charge into finding out whether prosecutorial misconduct actually occurred in the Attorney General’s office during the early stages of the Sandusky investigation.”

“When Jeff Pyle walked out in the middle of yesterday’s session to protect Governor Corbett, he turned his back on our kids,” echoed Jo Ellen Bowman, Pyle’s (R-Armstrong) challenger. “Unfortunately, Pyle has forgotten that his job is to work for Western Pennsylvania’s families, and not Harrisburg party bosses.”

That’s on top of Democratic Attorney General hopeful Kathleen Kane, who has been talking about Sandusky for her entire campaign.

“The reason it was probably politics is you look at all the other factors surrounding it,” Kane told the editorial board of the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice. “You look at the amount of money that came into his campaign while this was going on from the Second Mile, from the Penn State board of trustees.”

“That’s a lot of money,” Kane continued. “So that’s one factor. You look at the timing. I mean if he wasn’t running for governor at the time, would he have put it in the grand jury? Would it have taken less time? You have to ask him that.”

Corbett and his spokesman have repeated high and low that a case against a popular public figure takes time; that the worst case scenario would be a rushed prosecution that let him go free. It also took time to encourage Sandusky’s victims to come forward.

“The jury verdict is a vindication of the thoroughness of that investigation,” Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley told the Citizens Voice. “(Guilty verdicts on) 45 of 48 counts cannot be argued with.”

That won’t keep it from being a political topic this year, and during Corbett’s re-election bid in 2014. For decades, Pa. has alternated between two terms under a Democratic Governor, 2 terms under a Republican one. Democrats hope the Sandusky issue is big enough to end the trend.

20 Responses

  1. Rob you are either a total moron or you work for Corbett. The legislature could have simply amended Senate Bill 1054 to line out the $3 million for Second Mile. That was the most pathetic spin job I’ve ever seen.

  2. The General Assembly did it again on Wednesday. The Act has general categories but lacks the list of specific projects which is where the mischief is done. and how those projects are chosen is only marginally a transparent and objective bureaucratic process by OECD.

  3. Rep. Rosita Youngblood sponsored a bill that would expose the arcane and very, very secretive WAM (Earmark) process. Unfortunately, both Democrats who, in the best of circumstances can’t be trusted with money, collude with Republicans who are disingenuous at best about spending, to decide who gets what in order to maintain incumbent power.

    Two wolves arguing who gets to carve up the lamb for dinner.

  4. Senator Jake Corman, the Senator from Penn State, is an enabler of Penn State funding and it is highly likely that, as both Penn State enabler and high ranking Republican, he had some knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s reputation and proclivities and yet, was silent.

    Sen. Corman’s role needs to be looked into not only with respect to Second Mile funding but all Penn State funding. The funding benefits a few at expense of the many unless you think what benefits a billionaire private tax exempt business corporation benefits us all. Ending subsidies to billionaires may be an idea whose time has come.

  5. Thank you, Larry, for correcting Rob.

    It is a dereliction of General Assembly’s duty to PERMIT the Governor to spend money without knowing what he is spending it for and without due diligence and oversight. What do we need a General Assembly for if all it does is rubber stamp executive spending?

    When the Senate voted, unanimously, it did NOT even have the list so they voted for additional $1.6 billion and, it seems, did not know what it was voting for. Given the WAMs in the project list, it is likely that, at least, Leadership including Appropriations Chair Corman,(the Corman Dynasty has held the Senate seat since 1988) knew what the projects were. However, authorizing $1.6 billion and leaving it solely to the discretion of the Governor is – how to be polite in saying this – a disgraceful and despicable dereliction of Constitutional duty.

    The House was worse because, at the time of the vote, they knew as did everyone in Pennsylvania who paid even minimal attention that Sandusky was a child rapist and serial molester so as despicable and disgraceful a dereliction of Constitutional duty exhibited by a unanimous Senate, the House was worse.

    Here is the list again 507 items. Did the General Assembly know what it was PERMITTING or not and if so, why. Note #507 Lugman Abdul Haqq’s Universal Properties and note the millions of taxpayer dollars that went to billionaire private corporations

    Project List

    Four billion dollar corporate buildings built with taxpayer millions and exactly how did this benefit the General Welfare and Taxpayers in general? Is what is good for billionaire businesses good for Pennsylvania’s Taxpayers?

  6. Here is the actual key language from Act 130 which was approved by the State House and State Senate in December 2011 as Bob G. mentions:
    Section 1. Short title.
    This act shall be known and may be cited as the Capital Budget Act of 2011-2012.
    Section 2. Overall limitations on debt to be incurred for capital projects.
    The maximum principal amount of additional debt to be incurred during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and thereafter until the enactment of the 2012-2013 capital budget specifying the maximum debt for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, for capital projects specifically itemized in a capital budget pursuant to section 7(a)(4) of Article VIII of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, and the fund to be charged with the repayment of such debt, shall, with respect to each category of capital projects, be as follows:

    As you can see the Act clearly states this is an approval of taking on debt for CAPITAL PROJECTS SPECIFICALLY ITEMIZED.

    Shame on any legislator of any party who did not take the time to read the SPECIFIC ITEMS when we are talking about BILLIONS of tax dollars!!!

  7. What the HELL is that???? I’ve never heard of that website before in my entire life. Never once has anyone I know or ever met in my life mentioned it even once. Seems like the liberal trolls are out in force, promoting their left-wing bizarro socialist blogs. Laughable and pathetic at the same time.

  8. has been calling for this investigation since the beginning.

    As Attorney General, Tom Corbett received over $647,000 in campaign contributions from members of the Second Mile Foundation, while only assigning one investigator to the case.

    Meanwhile, at the same time, he assigned 14 investigators to Bill Deweese, who spent more than 5 years trying to get him.

    It is difficult to believe these campaign contributions did not improperly influence his decision to not file charges against Jerry Sandusky.

    The state police trooper who initially handled the Clinton County case against Jerry Sandusky believed there was enough evidence from a teenage boy — now known as Victim One– to charge Sandusky with indecent assault.

  9. @bobguzzardi,

    I understand your argument, but you are incorrect as to how the process works. Governor Corbett selected the Second Mile Foundation as a designee to receive funding from a pre-approved list of programs through the RACP on July 20, 2011. The person making this decision was Governor Corbett. Governor Corbett, as former Attorney General who commenced the Sandusky investigation, was one of but a few people who knew about the role of Second Mile in the Sandusky scandal (as well as being the person to determine RACP recipients) by July 20, 2011. Governor Corbett also took additional steps to fund the RACP grant to Second Mile even after the Grand Jury presentment on November 5, 2011.

    Act 130 of 2011 did NOT appropriate any money to the Second Mile Foundation (or any other project, for that matter). Instead, Act 130 PERMITTED THE GOVERNOR to release $1.5 Billion in funding for projects. Act 130 did NOT require, in any way, the Governor to fund the Second Mile Foundation project. According to your logic, all members of the General Assembly should have voted against a full $1.5+ Billion to be spend on hundreds of projects merely because Governor Corbett WAS PERMITTED, AT HIS DISCRETION, BUT NOT REQUIRED to provide $3 million in funding to Second Mile.

    Governor Corbett’s decision to continue the process to fund Second Mile even after the presentment was a TERRIBLE idea. But, $1.5 Billion in spending should not have been halted merely because you don’t understand the Capital Budget and RACP process.

  10. If there is nothing to hide, then an investigation should be welcomed to put all these lingering questions to bed once and for all. Corbett has been incredibly defensive and angry whenever he’s been asked about this issue by the press. It’s time to clean house at the Attorney General’s Office and hope that documents aren’t “lost” before that happens. It may already be too late.

  11. The Smith Dynasty has “represented” HD 66 for 40 years and Republicans have controlled AG’s office for 32 years. The consequences of One Person and One Party Rule have become too evidently obvious to avoid. and Dave Freed continues One Party Rule. Not good for us, the citizens. The hacks like it though.

  12. Note to self
    Just because Democrats can’t be trusted with money doesn’t mean they are wrong about everything.

    While Ed Rendell’s fiscal policies may have enabled bankruptcy, it is very, very difficult to think he would have tolerated child rape for a nanosecond. This was Tom Corbett’s doing. Tom Corbett was AG who was supposed to protect the innocent and he slow rolled the investigation for his own benefit. Nope….the Democrats, except for those who voted for Act 130 of 2011, are innocent.

    And we will never find out the WHOLE truth if Tom Corbett’s man Dave Freed has control of the files.

  13. On Dec 19, 2011, ALL House members knew about Jerry Sandusky because Attorney General made the Grand Jury’s presentment public on November 5, 2011, more than a month before and Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were reported on relentless. EVERY MEMBER KNEW about Jerry Sandusky. Below is the Roll Call of Shame

    On December 19, 2011, one month after Pennsylvania Attorney General, the Republican controlled House voted on Act 130 of 2011 which authorized $3,000,000 for convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky’s Second Mile Learning Center which Jerry Sandusky used as a cover to recruit his child victims.
    RACP Project List 2011-2012 funded by borrowing authorized by Act 130 of 2011
    LINE 124 Second Mile Learning Center $3,000,000 JULY 20, 2011
    On November 5, 2011, more than a month before, the Pennsylvania Attorney General presented he detailed (and sickening) Grand Jury’s report of the Attorney General’s three year investigation
    The House Vote
    The Senate voted “YEA” UNANIMOUSLY on June 6th for Act 130 of 2011. No objections were made by any Senator to giving $3,000,000 of taxpayer money to a child. The Project was dated approved July 20, 2011, about a month after the vote.

  14. @Skeptic,

    You should check your facts before blaming Democrats merely because they are Democrats. Your arguments may have more credibility if you are correct on the facts.

    The House Democrats (majority from January 2007 through January 2011) was not informed of the Attorney General Corbett Sandusky investigation. THAT is not Corbett’s fault, the Attorney General never shares with the General Assembly the specifics of what he/she is investigating (and almost never identifies the targets of investigation). That is the nature of criminal investigations, whether Republicans or Democrats are involved. So how were the House Democrats responsible for not reacting to something they could not have known?

    Governor Rendell had appointees serving on the Penn State Board of Trustees until January 2011. No report was issued, and no charges filed, by the Attorney General until November 2011 (9+ months after Gov. Rendell left office). The Board of Trustees itself was not informed of specifics related to the Sandusky investigation until well after Gov. Rendell left office in January 2011. As is the case with the General Assembly, the Attorney General does not share information with the Governor concerning his/her investigations. So how was Gov. Rendell responsible for not reacting to something he could not have known about?

  15. This matter was not brought to the Dems attention by the AG while the Dems were in the majority; Rendell has already said that during the time that he was on the Board of Trustees, this matter was not brought to their attention by Spanier.

    BTW, the prime sponsor of H. Res. 520 is DeLuca, not Briggs.

  16. If Kane wins the Sandusky/Second Mile, Ray Gricar issues will be in play. Either, or both, could land our esteemed governor in a state correctional facility. We can only hope.

  17. Very astute and well-written, Keegan. How will the Democrats handle the fact that in eight years as Governor and a member of the Penn State Board, Ed Rendell didn’t say or do anything at all ? The Democrats also controlled the state House of Represntatives for Governor Rendelll’s entire second term in office. They didn’t say or do anything, either.

    The chaotiic scene in the House yesterday, however, won’t go down in the books as Speaker Sam Smith’s finest.

  18. I wonder if Kathleen Kane will bring criminal charges to Tom Corbett for corputiation

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