Friday, September 3, 2010

Eachus-I Won't Follow Your Rules

At Tuesday night's meeting regarding a permit application by Hazleton Creek Properties Todd Eachus displayed the type of behaviors that have become all too common with him according to those having any dealings with the solon.

In the introductory portion of the meeting DEP Director of Communications Helen Humphreys laid out the rules of the evening. She stated that audience members could ask one question at a time. After everyone had an opportunity to be heard she said she would allow audience members more time to ask additional questions.

According to witnesses in the audience Todd Eachus ran up to the podium to be first. He told Ms. Humphreys "I appreciate your setting the rules but I represent all the people here so I will ask as many questions as I want." Imagine a legislator that thinks he has more important things to say at a hearing than his constituents. Arrogance is something Eachus has worked hard to perfect. He basically told her "I won't follow your rules". That is what brought him smack dab in the middle of Bonusgate. Start at Exhibit F and work your way down. .

When Donna D'Amato turned to Eachus and said, "You said you represent everybody here. I am part of everybody here." he responded by stating "I won't be interrogated." That statement probably explains why he refused to testify before the Grand Jury investigating Bonusgate when he was given an invitation by Attorney General Tom Corbett.

This testimony may offer a glimpse into why he received that invitation and is undeniably in the middle of Bonusgate.

In a May 2008 grand jury appearance, Jones said that while he was working for the House Democratic Campaign Committee in the run-up to that pivotal 2006 election, he and another campaign committee employee worked closely with Eachus out of an office in the Capitol’s East Wing.

He said they helped Eachus phone Democratic state representatives to pressure them either to donate to the campaign committee or promise to spend a certain amount on their own races.

“As Todd would often say, he wanted to spend what he called soft dollars, which were government dollars, on public service announcements so that we had to ultimately spend less hard campaign dollars,” Jones testified.

Jones said that for a time he and two other legislative aides spent nearly all day on political matters, raising money and performing other campaign-related duties. A phone number could not be located for Jones.

An unidentified state prosecutor, in the grand jury transcript, asked Jones whether Eachus was “directing and encouraging” their campaign efforts.

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Jones responded. “There were plenty of times where (an aide) and I would be in to make phone calls or to staff Todd so he could make fundraising phone calls out of his office.”

Eachus was closely allied with former House Whip Mike Veon, D-Beaver, whom prosecutors have portrayed as a leading figure in a conspiracy to divert public employees and resources for campaign work before he lost re-election in 2006.

Veon and as many as four others with ties to House Democrats are expected to go on trial next month on charges of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest.

Veon co-defendant Rachel Manzo had been House Democratic policy committee executive director under Eachus at the time of her arrest in July 2008. On the same August day that she appeared before the grand jury, she signed an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count of theft of services.

A prosecutor asked Manzo about talking to Eachus about moving state workers spending time on campaigns to another office, according to a transcript.

“So those discussions manifested direct knowledge by Eachus that these people were involved in politics as part of their daily work?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” she testified. “He used them daily for politics.”

Eachus worked for Paul Kanjorski. It appears the apple doesn't fall far from the tree where rules are concerned. Let's revisit one of Paul Kanjorski's more memorable moments.

During the interview, Kanjorski said he was “used to getting a great deal of money for my district” and when questioned about the funding for the garage, Kanjorski used the term “free money.” He said it was “free money for the community” because it “doesn’t cause any difficulty for the community to take that money."

Kanjorski said that in Congress “we have our own rules and we allocate this money.”

While Todd Eachus insists he wants to ask all the questions he wants tell him you just want to ask one question. Mr. Eachus how many times did you fly on Mr. Robert Powell's jet and did you declare it on your Ethics Commission filing? See if he is willing to answer just one question.

You might want to ask just one more question. Mr. Eachus can you enlighten the public about the altercation that took place after the event in the parking lot between you and one of your chief of staff and two participants who attended the hearing?

When Mr. Eachus ran for office he told the public he was in favor of term limits. Maybe it is time he keep that campaign promise.

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