"If we’d found anything, we’d have prosecuted." -- Tom Corbett, during a Feb. 20 meeting with the Patriot-News editorial board, on his "mind-boggling" failure to prosecute any Senate Republicans during the apparently six-year-long investigation of the General Assembly (the grand jury still meets).
The problem is that there was something to find. We know, because Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala found it. And he didn't even have to look. Intern Jennifer Knapp Rioja called him up to tell him so.
Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, sister of convicted former Senator Jane Orie, today was convicted of illegal campaigning as a direct result of a tip that Rioja tried to give to Tom Corbett, but was turned away.
Former Sen. Orie was convicted nearly a year ago of the very same type of illegal campaign work for which Corbett prosecuted House Democrats and (belatedly) House Republicans. Evidence of her crimes was stored on Senate Republican hard drives until late spring of 2009, a year after Corbett supposedly subpoenaed the Senate Republican caucus for evidence of illegal campaigning. Not a single Senate Republican member or staffer was subpoenaed to testify before Corbett's grand jury.
In 2008, when Corbett's widely-publicized investigation of the legislature was in full swing, a hacker-fearing Orie - knowing full well that evidence of illegal activity was stored there - asked Corbett's office to examine her computers.
Was a guilt-stricken Orie subconsciously trying to get caught? Or was she merely supremely confident she had nothing to fear from Corbett or his investigators?
The question, dear Governor, isn't whether you would've prosecuted if you'd "found anything." It's how you managed not to find what was staring you right in the face.