Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Politicians busting political corruption

Attorney General Tom Corbett is probably riding high. Earlier this month, he enjoyed the first conviction of a major target in his Bonusgate investigation, former House Minority Whip Mike Veon. And early polls show Corbett both running away with the Republican primary for governor and beating Democrats in the general election.

Politicians busting political corruption

Attorney General Tom Corbett is probably riding high. Earlier this month, he enjoyed the first conviction of a major target in his Bonusgate investigation, former House Minority Whip Mike Veon. And early polls show Corbett both running away with the Republican primary for governor and beating Democrats in the general election.

Despite all of these positives, though, Laura Vecsey, a columnist based in the state capitol, thinks Corbett might be in for some trouble. She writes in the Harrisburg Patriot-News that his focus on prosecuting corruption could be a problem for him politically.

There are reasons to consider that Corbett’s campaign could be relieved that statewide voters have made the economy and taxes their primary issues, because it has kept widespread attention away from the prosecutions, not to mention the conflict-of-interest charges leveled at Corbett — as well as pending court motions and lawsuits against Corbett that remain potential liabilities.

Despite continued claims by the attorney general’s office that accusations, court motions and lawsuits against Corbett are baseless or “bogus,” it remains to be seen whether he can demonstrate to voters that he didn’t abuse his prosecutorial power in the semblance of cleaning up public corruption.

Obviously, we have NO idea if these accusations are true, but they expose a fundamental tension that occurs whenever a politician starts busting corruption: Any investigation can be tainted as politically motivated, especially when the prosecutor is running for higher office.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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