The 'X' factor in Corbett's re-election
Capitol insiders call it the “investigation of the investigation.” The investigator is Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Did Tom Corbett, a Republican, the former attorney general and current governor, slow-walk his probe of child molester and ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky to help win the 2010 gubernatorial election?
Why would busting a guy who molested young boys create a political problem? It prompted a chain reaction that included the abrupt firing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno by the Penn State Board of Trustees, a decision in which Corbett participated, and raucous protests on campus. Penn State President Graham Spanier and two administrators were sacked, accused of a cover-up, and still face criminal charges. Paterno died of cancer. The football team received severe sanctions from the NCAA.
Happy Valley has been anything but.
Kane, a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, tapped into public anger over what seemed like an inordinate amount of time to lock up Sandusky. The investigation took nearly three years. Child molesters in schools and the workplace are sometimes scooped up the day after an allegation is made.
Corbett said the investigation had to be thorough. Testimony from multiple victims was needed, he said. There was a cover-up, a university-commissioned report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh would later allege.
Despite the fact Sandusky is in prison for the rest of his life, Corbett was hurt by public perceptions of how the probe was handled. It helped Kane become the first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general.
The investigation she promised during the campaign is underway now; an academic who is also a former federal prosecutor is conducting it. The probe will be done when it's done, Kane's spokesman Joe Peters says.
Ironically, Corbett will be able to say, “What took so long?”
The Kane report is the “X” factor in Corbett's re-election campaign this year. If it hammers Corbett, which is likely, Kane will be accused of saving it for an election year.
Wrapping up the probe by the end of 2013 would have been better. There is a window, now through February and March, when release of the report would seem more distant from the May 20 primary. April or May, however, would reek of politics. In June, Kane's report, if explosive, could blow up budget negotiations. In July and August, no one would pay attention; people head to the shore.
Releasing her findings from Labor Day through the Nov. 4 election would look like Kane is doing a number on Corbett.
Maybe it will validate his probe? There's not much chance.
Here's a novel idea: Kane could publicly announce the report won't be released until Nov. 5 regardless of when it's completed. But there would be enormous pushback from the Democrat running against Corbett and Democrat donors.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter (717-787-1405 or email@example.com).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- East Huntingdon man dies following police chase
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- Port Vue upgrades office equipment
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans
- Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
- Steelers pressing to create opportunities to get to quarterback
- Pirates’ Martin calls crowd chant ‘petty special’
- Former Steelers doctor loses bid for Miranda protection
- Oil, gas industry boom leads to expansion of laws in Pennsylvania