8/7/08 Chambersburg Public Opinion

Rendell has a good point on Bonusgate parity issue
Public Opinion Online It appears Pennsylvania Democrats harbor some concerns about the reportedly bipartisan nature of the Bonusgate investigation, evidenced by statements made Tuesday by Gov. Ed Rendell. Rendell told audiences in Pittsburgh that voters deserve to know before the November election whether Republicans as well as Democrats will face charges in the public corruption scandal, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It's tempting to write off Rendell's concerns as partisan wrangling, akin to a football coach imploring a referee for a penalty call. But he actually has a point. Given allegations of pervasive malfeasance that resulted in charges against 12 Democrats, it's probably naive to assume that all Republican incumbents and candidates abstained from similar practices. Attorney General Tom Corbett, a Republican up for re-election this year, says he's targeting all four General Assembly caucuses, and we're taking him at his word for now. But it also took him some two years to generate his case against those 12 Democrats, so Rendell probably thinks he has good reason to fear that no further Bonusgate charges will arrive before the general election. And he should fear that outcome. Voters have focused their Bonusgate outrage on Democrats, because that's all they have to work with at this point. That certainly won't help Democrats' chances of retaining their majority come November. Corbett's in a tough spot. He probably shouldn't have made his initial splash with charges against Democrats, because now the pressure's on to demonstrate a bipartisan dedication to reform and he may need GOP help with his re-election campaign. If he fails to charge Republicans between now and November, he will certainly open himself up to claims that he's politicized the reform movement. Rendell's statements this week make that a certainty. Meanwhile, Corbett remains restricted by the pace of an ongoing probe that may, or may not, turn up evidence he needs to prove he's in it for the good of Pennsylvania, and not simply Pennsylvania Republicans.