Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

DeWeese Redux

State Rep. Bill DeWeese is at it again. He's poking at Gov. Corbett and calling for a probe into an incident involving the wife of a top Corbett aide.

DeWeese Redux

The indefatigable Bill DeWeese, former Democratic House Speaker and current Greene Couty state rep facing felony charges and a corruption trial in connection with then-Attorney General Tom Corbett's "Bonusgate" probe, is again attacking his accuser, now Gov. Corbett.

DeWeese yesterday issued a press release accusing Corbett of covering up details of an incident in which the wife of a top Corbett aide charged with drunk-driving was aided by a state trooper on Corbett's security detail.

Georgina Zogby, 47-year old wife of Corbett Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, was charged July 10 after a police chase in a Harrisburg suburb. An after-hours call to her husband's Capitol office was re-routed to the Governor's Mansion and an as-yet-unidentified trooper on duty left his or her post to give Mrs. Zogby a ride home.

"Watergate was the cover-up, not the crime," DeWeese said in a prepared (overly grandiose) statement. He noted the governor's office calls the incident "a private matter" but he claims "the people I represent want answers to this very questionable pratice of using state resources for `a private matter.'"

It's hard to imagine the people of Greene County are losing sleep over this.

But DeWeese sent letters (using state resources) to State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, current Attorney General Linda Kelly and Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner (all Corbett appointees) urging an investigation.

Here's today's Harrisburg Patriot-News story on the whole mess.

Thing is, DeWeese is charged with using state resources for political gain and has a clear revenge motive. On the other hand, Corbett could have made this story go away by simply stating that the trooper acted outside his or her area of responsibility, acted on his or her own and has been reprimanded.

It's not the first time DeWeese lashed out at Corbett. In May, after the administration decided against building a planned state prison in DeWeese's district, DeWeese hammered the Guv for state spendng of $2.25 million on construction-related "management" contracts and "legal services" to three Philly firms. The contracts were awarded under the previous Guv who, you might remember, was from Philly.

Corbett's office said the no-go decision saved the state $200 million. DeWeese suggested it was personal, an effort to hurt him further by stopping job-creation in his district.

Oh, and DeWeese's press release of yesterday notes DeWeese is "considering pursuing other avenues in which to get more information" about what he calls "Zogbygate."

So, stay tuned. And try not to GRRRR too much.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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