Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Reaction to Fumo verdict floods in

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan:

Reaction to Fumo verdict floods in

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan:

“Just as I said two years ago when my office brought the charges against Sen. Fumo, there is no joy in today’s verdict. While it is my hope that today’s decision will begin to reverse the corrupt behavior we have seen for far too long, sadly much of the damage has already been done. Also as I said then, my hope is that from today’s verdict will emerge a new commitment of transparency, honesty and ethics from those who seek to serve the public.”

“The jury has spoken and, through its verdict, has said loud and clear that ‘business as usual’ will no longer be tolerated. For years in Harrisburg and in Philadelphia, we have heard this statement, ‘that’s the way it is.’ Well, today’s verdict signals that ‘the way it is’ is not ‘the way it WILL be.’ The era of spending Other’s People Money is over.”

 

Former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer (R., Blair) said:
“There is a sadness that hovers over the entire Senate and state government that one of its members would be found guilty on 137 counts of corruption.”
Jubelirer had had several highly public run-ins with Fumo over their decades in the Senate together. It was Fumo who shouted repeatedly at Jubelirer in 2004, calling him a “faggot” on the Senate floor. And one of the counts against Fumo dealt with a lawsuit he secretary funded with nonprofit dollars that sought to get Jubelirer removed from office.
“His perverted view of the way government should work for him and not him for government eventually caught up with him,” said Jubelirer. “Vince has dodged so many bullets over the years, but this one finally got him right between the eyes.
“He treated government with arrogance and he is now going to pay the price.”

Former Sen. Gibson Armstrong (R., Lancaster), Fumo’s longtime legislative colleague and hunting buddy:
Armstrong said he was reluctant to comment.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “But commenting is a two-edged sword. I never knew about some of the stuff and I don’t want to sound too negative.”
Armstrong said he first met Fumo in 1984. “We didn’t even speak to each other. I thought he was a hard core liberal but he really wasn’t. “


Sen. Don White (R., Indiana):

 

"How a man of his means ever got into the situation that he did, I don’t know. I never saw that side. All I saw was the relentless Democratic leader on the floor who was so passionate about so many things. I wasn’t close enough to call him a friend, but he was someone I had great respect for.

 

"It doesn’t reflect well on the rest of us either. I think it’s another burden [on the institution], a new burden, not that we need anymore. But from the public’s perspective, how else are they going to look at it?

 

"If a leader and a man of his means is doing it, what does that say about the rest of us? I just really think it got away from him."

 

Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow (D., Lackawanna):

 

He said he wasn’t surprised by the verdict, but asked how hard it was to hear it, Mellow said:

 

“It’s very hard. I’ve known Vince Fumo since the days of (Gov.) Milton Shapp. I’ve always found him to be a quality person. He was a friend.”

 

He said it was difficult to reconcile the man he knew and the man who was being described in the courtroom. “To know him the way I do, he’s a great guy and a considerate individual.”

 

Mellow added that he does not believe the Senate will be tarnished by the verdicts.

 

“We’ve gone through this on both sides. And we’ll move on from today.”

 


 Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson):
“I read the indictment some time ago and it looks like some pretty strong evidence. So I guess I wasn’t surprised. You can’t legislate morals and you can’t necessarily … guarantee that everyone who walks these halls is of high ethical behavior.
"The jury just sent the message. This goes a long way – at least it puts the hope out there – that when you do cross over that chalk line you have to answer for it.”
 

Gov. Rendell, who had testified as a character witness for Fumo:

According to spokesman Chuck Ardo, Rendell will have no comment regarding the verdict.


State Sen. John Wozniak (D., Cambria), who has known Fumo for 28 years.
“We represent the law and nobody is above the law. I am shocked that it was guilty on all counts. He is still a friend but nobody is above the law.”

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a conservative Republican from Butler County:
“There are many people in political office that have and continue to violate the trust of the people. And I hope that the conviction of Sen. Fumo will send a very strong message that they should keep their oath of office and serve the people that elected them rather than serving themselves.”
 

Zack Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy and the former longtime editor of the Philadelphia Daily News:
“It’s terribly sad. I think Vince had a lot of positives going for him, but somehow he got undermined by all the negatives. I genuinely hope it makes officeholders, especially in Harrisburg, think a lot more intently about their behavior and that they can’t get away with this stuff any more.”
 

Barry Kauffman, executive director of government watchdog group Common Cause of Pennsylvania:
“I think the verdict sends a very powerful message. Here was a guy who was untouchable because of his reputation of being a larger-than-life power broker. I think this message is, be careful, work in the public interest because nobody is too big not to get caught.
“He was one of the most aggressive, hardworking people out there. And he had a strong sense of public spirit. It’s a shame he allowed himself to be corrupted by his own personal interests.”
 

Gene Stilp, a longtime Harrisburg activist:

“This was the first glimmer of justice from the Capitol dome in many years. I guess we can take the N out of Vince’s name and finally call him Vice Fumo – guilty of all counts. This former senator got what he deserved, and let’s hope this sets an example for all future legislators that they must serve the people and not themselves.”
 

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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