Updates on Integrity Questionnaire, Investigations

Posted on Sat 08/21/2010 by


DR News:  By Tim Potts

Integrity Questionnaire Update

We have received a lot of email about this year’s Integrity Questionnaire and the lack of response by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett. All we can tell you is that the Corbett campaign continues to say they will respond.

Democracy Rising PA and Rock the Capital sent the questionnaire on July 6 and asked for responses by August 1. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato responded on August 2. Click here  to read the questionnaire and Onorato’s responses.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide the perspectives of other candidates for governor from the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the TEA Party. All three candidates withdrew when their petitions were challenged.

This raises the perennial issue of how hard it is for candidates other than Republicans and Democrats to get on the ballot. This year, candidates for the two major parties needed only 2,000 signatures on nominating petitions. Other candidates needed more than 16,000.

DR’s Tim Potts will participate in a news conference on Monday in the capitol along with many other groups who are seeking a level playing field for all who want to become candidates for public office.

Investigations Update

New kids on the docket.

Investigations continue to expand in potentially the most criminally prosecuted legislature in America today. This week, a sixth state lawmaker joined the ranks of those under investigation by federal, state or local authorities. The newest is Rep. William Keller, D-Philadelphia. Agents of the FBI and IRS executed search warrants against Keller and Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew on Tuesday. Keller has not been charged with any crimes.

Here are a story by The Philadelphia Inquirer and an editorial by the Philadelphia Daily News:

Citizens get to see Orie prosecution records.

At least some of them. An Allegheny Common Pleas judge had sealed all of the motions and orders in the case. The Post-Gazette and WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh asked the state Supreme Court to overrule the local judge, and it did. Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny, and her sister Janine Orie are charged with using tax-funded offices and staff for election campaigns, including last year’s election of a third sister, Justice Joan Orie Melvin, to the state Supreme Court.

However, it’s not clear which documents will be released or when. Here’s the story:

Mellow grand jury postponed.

A meeting of a federal grand jury was cancelled this week. The panel was to hear testimony from witnesses in an investigation of Sen. Robert Mellow, D-Lackawanna. No new date has been announced yet. Federal agents from the FBI and IRS executed search warrants of Mellow’s home and district office in Peckville on June 18. The Senate minority leader has not been charged with any crimes.

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