Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breaking New- Attorney General Corbett Announces A New Round of Charges In Bonusgate

AP Photo PennLive Website

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that he will be holding a press conference at 1P.M. concerning a new round of arrests in the Bonusgate scandal.

SOP's information is that as this post is written the defendants will be turining themselves into District Magistrate offices for processing. According to a source close to SOP there will be a slew of arrests this round.

Pennlive is reporting that these arrests could bring to a close a 16-month grand jury probe of House Republican operations that sought to determine whether caucus leaders had used publicly-funded resources to support candidates and campaigns.

Among those believed to be targets of the investigation are former House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadel[phia, his longtime chief of staff Brian J. Preski, and former House Republican chief counsel Brett Feese.

A source close to SOP stated that the investigation will be ongoing even after the arrests. Bonusgate will more than likely last past AG Corbett's term.

Update: Watch PCN Live which is carrying the announcement.

Update 2: Here are three links to the Grand Jury Presentments found on the Post Gazette Website" Part I Part II Part III Here is a link to the investigation timeline. Here is a link to a list of the defendants and the charges.

What I found interesting in listening to Corbett's announcement was his emphasis and slight chastise of the media for calling this investigation "Bonusgate." He distinguished between the actions of the Democrats charged where they used taxpayer money to pay bonuses for work on campaigns in contrast to the Republican role of using taxpayer money to develop campaign software and technology for campaign purposes. Corbett stressed that his investigation concerns the misuse of taxpayer money for any purpose other than a legitimate one. He reminded the media repeatedly that they tagged the first round as Bonsugate and that it would be up to them to label this round. So let SOP throw in the term Techo-Gate as a possible sequel to Bonusgate.

Corbett reiterated his position that the investigation is ongoing. SOP believes the same scenario of sending invitations to testify before the grand jury will precede the next round of arrests.

Mr. Perzel issued a statement before Mr.Corbet's news conference was over denying the charges.

"First and foremost, I am innocent of the charges against me," the statement said. "I have faithfully served the people of my district, my city and my state for more than 30 years, and I have never used public funds for my personal or political gain.

"Second, this investigation has lasted for nearly three years, and it's only now, on the eve of his gubernatorial campaign and in response to claims that he was unfairly pursuing only Democrats, that Attorney General Corbett has decided to bring charges against 10 Republicans, including me. It smacks of political opportunism at the expense of my reputation, and I am going to fight very aggressively to prove my innocence."

Asked about Mr. Perzel's statement accusing him of using the prosecution to boost his gubernatorial bid, Mr. Corbett flatly refused to respond.

"Why should I?" he declared.

Click here for a link to AG Corbett's press release.

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