State Sen. (and majority whip) Jane Orie, according to several sources (one an intern from Pitt, another a staffer-turned-state's-evidence), allegedly used her senatorial office -- literally, not figuratively -- to campaign for a state Supreme Court candidate. Which Supreme Court candidate? The one who is her sister. Good point.
The refreshingly naive intern (too inexperienced to recognize business as usual, in nature if not degree) approached Pennsylania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who is using his office -- part literally, part figuratively -- to campaign for a candidate for governor. Which gubernatorial candidate? The one named Tom Corbett. Again, good point.
Tom Corbett punted -- the prospect of aggravating supporters of the state's third-ranking Senate Republican in the months before a Republican primary is the political equivalent of third-and-thirty-seven -- an action inconsistent with Corbett's "reform" platform but conducive to a campaign. Which campaign? The Corbett campaign. Another good point.
That punt was fielded by Stephen A. Zappala Jr., the
District Attorney Zappala concluded that he could overlook Sen. Orie's legitimate, public criticism of his
That punt was not fielded by the local United States Attorney's office, which has been used to pursue certain elected officials with vigor (but not, in general, convictions). Which elected officials? Democratic elected officials. Good points must be in season.
The feuding factions -- Republicans and Democrats, Ories and Zappalas, the currently ins and the currently outs -- have until now been fighting primarily over dollars and elected offices, the political equivalent of beanbags. With today's arraignment of Sen. Orie, however, Stephen Zappala has used the first bomb, turning the dispute into a war. Because both sides live in a conflicted and profitable politics-and-business world whose atmosphere consists primarily of weapons-grade materials, this war could escalate quickly and powerfully.
Until those developments occur, a question: Is there no good, independent lawyer in western Pennsylvania able and willing to become a district attorney or United States attorney?