Feb 21, 2013

State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin Found Guilty


The jury has found suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie guilty on all but one count in a campaign corruption trial.

Both were found guilty on all counts except official oppression. On that charge, the jury was hung.

The jury returned the verdict on the fourth day of deliberations.

Earlier in the day, the jury sent the judge a note which read in part, “For as close as we are, could we hear the definition of accomplice” with regard to defendant Janine Orie.

The judge read the definition and the jury resumed deliberations.

The sisters are charged with misusing Melvin’s former Superior Court staff to help her campaign for the state’s highest court in 2003 and 2009.

Janine Orie was an aide to the judge then and Allegheny County prosecutors say she helped organize that illegal campaign work — as well as other allegedly illegal work done by the state-funded staff of a third sister, then-state Sen. Jane Orie.

The sisters have denied any wrongdoing.

More:  Orie Melvin Guilty on 6 of 7 Counts (PoliticsPA)
Pa. Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin convicted of corruption (Patriot-News)

Feb 18, 2013

Congresswoman Allison Schwartz's Political Director buys website domain www.schwartzforgovernor.com

Breaking: Hat tip: PoliticsPA

It looks like Pennsylvnaia Congresswoman Allisont Schwartz's Political Director Neil Deegan has officially registered the domain www.schwartzforgovernor.com. The domain name was registered February 9th. This a pretty good indication that Congresswoman Schwartz is running for governor in next year's gubernaitoral race in Pennsylvania. Reports came out after the annual Democtratic State Committee meeting two weeks ago suggesting Schwartz was about 90% sure she was going to run.

This will set up an epic political battle in the race for governor next year between Schwartz and current incumbent republican Tom Corbett. That is if Governor Corbett can make it out of what seems to be a tough primary election race. Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor is already set to challenge Corbett. Also former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf is considering challenging Corbett.

If Schwartz runs her only possible primary competition looks like PA Treasurer Rob McCord. I doubt if the Democratic Party wants a heated primary election battle and one would have to believe Schwartz would come out on top of any party negotiations. This will give Schwartz a tremendous advantage in the general election.

Feb 17, 2013

There Are No Spending “Cuts” In Sequestration

Source: ConservativeHQ

President Barack Obama and his big spending allies, including some Republicans (such as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon), have launched an all-out attack on the reductions in spending set to take place March 1 through the “sequestration” agreed to in the 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling.
As writer for U.S. News and World Report Anneke E. Green noted in a recent article, “In a speech last week, Mr. Obama talked about the ‘the economically damaging effects of the sequester' with a straight face. Nowhere in his remarks did he acknowledge that the impending spending cuts package was his idea from the start.”

What’s more, all of their gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over sequestration’s allegedly “draconian cuts” in spending are completely phony.

The March 1 “sequestration” doesn’t actually “cut” spending -- at least as normal Americans outside the Beltway are inclined to think of “cutting” spending.

As Senator Rand Paul pointed out in his Tea Party sponsored rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union message, “Few people understand that the sequester doesn’t even cut any spending. It just slows the rate of growth. Even with the sequester, government will grow over $7 trillion over the next decade.

Only in Washington could an increase of $7 trillion in spending over a decade be called a cut.”

The Club for Growth’s Chris Chocola took a slightly more sanguine view of sequestration, telling Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV that, “We’ve been assured by several members of the House in leadership positions that sequestration will happen. I won’t believe it until I see it, but we think it’s a good thing… We think it starts to at least stall the road to suffocating in debt. It actually does reduce spending, it actually does reduce what they call the base lines. Future spending would be lower. All Republicans have to do is sit there and let it happen.’’

Anneke E. Greene’s article was a good reminder, generally ignored by the rest of the establishment media, that a triumphant Obama was the one to announce the deal both sides had agreed to for avoiding a default on U.S. debt in July 2011. A White House fact sheet at the time praised the deal as "a win for the economy and budget discipline."

Back in 2011, Obama termed sequester as a mere enforcement mechanism that equally hit priorities of both parties. Obama stressed that the deal didn't impact middleclass families. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement were exempt from cuts.

"The political calculation was that such draconian defense cuts would drive the GOP to offer concessions," notes Charles Krauthammer. "It backfired. The Republicans have offered no concessions. Obama's bluff is being called and he's the desperate party."

The good news is that, at least if Chocola’s prediction of Republican resolve proves true and sequestration holds, slowing spending is better than increasing spending. The bad news is that voters may think Congress has actually done something about the unsustainable growth of the federal budget and take the heat off their elected officials to enact real reductions in the federal government’s spending, deficit and debt.

Check out ConservativeHQ the online news source for conservatives and Tea Partiers committed to bringing small-government constitutional conservative to power.

The final word on the Paterno Report and the Sandusky Scandal

Ok here is my final word on the Paterno Family Report and Joe Paterno's role in the Sandusky Scandal. The Paterno's released the report last Sunday and the findings has caused many to revisit some of the inaccuracies and speculation that is undeniably evident in the Freeh Report released last July.

What do we now know after reading the two reports and the testimony from Sandusky's trial?

First, we now know there was no cover up to benefit the football program as suggested in the Freeh Report. Which makes the unprecedented sanctions placed upon Penn State's football program by the NCAA baseless.

Second we know that Joe Paterno followed the University's own policy when it comes to reporting incidents if sexual violence on campus. If you know anything about how allegations of sexual abuse cases are investigated we know there really was nothing more Joe Paterno could have done once he reported the incident to University officials and his supervisor.

This is contrary to the media defined narrative that they are desperately trying to hold on to. Again I have to emphasize that members of the media have no clue about how child abuse cases are investigated. Which is the main reason why their reporting has been so inaccurate and unreliable throughout this scandal.

They expect us to believe that Joe Paterno was all powerful and could of done more even if it meant breaking the laws that dictate how these kind of allegations are investigated.

Bottom line is, let's imagine that all the people involved were sitting at a table. One is the President of the Second Mile foundation a child care agency responsible for the children placed in their care, one is a state police officer, one is a campus police officer, one is a state psychologist, one is a Children and Youth caseworker, two are district attorneys, one is the President of a state university, one is as athletic director, one is a school superintendent, one is a state attorney general and one is a college football coach. All were informed of incidents regarding Sandusky and children at some point.

Out of all these people sitting at the table we are supposed to believe according to the media that the football coach is the one responsible for protecting the children that Sandusky abused.

That just sounds ridiculous.

And please stop saying that Joe Paterno should have done more when he did what the university manual informs every other staff person to do when these kinds of incidents are brought to their attention.

Also don't give me the "what if this were your child" scenario because I sure would not be blaming the football coach who doesn't have the authority to investigate or arrest criminals over all the other officials informed of the allegations.

This is what will forever be ridiculous about all of this but the most alarming thing is all the gullible people buying this garbage being pushed by members of the media. The mass and the media wants a figure head to blame. One to sell more papers or watch their stations.

For those of you who want the truth I hope I broke it down for you. If you are a member of the media who wants to keep spreading lies that hurt the football players and the students who attend Penn State then I don't have anymore time for your nonsense!

Corbett addministration extends lottery contract bid

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A top budget aide to Gov. Tom Corbett says a British firm has extended its bid to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery while the administration mulls over how it will respond to the state attorney general rejecting the deal.

Executive Deputy Budget Secretary Peter Tartline said the bid from Camelot Global Services that was scheduled to expire Saturday has been extended through Friday.

According to a top aid, Governor Tom Corbett's bid to privatize the lottery is still alive.

Sources say an agreement has been reached between the state and British firm Camelot Global Services to extend the firm's bid to run the Pennsylvania Lottery. The original bid expired on Saturday after new Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the contract between the two, citing it unconstitutional.

The original deal between Corbett and Camelot was a 30-year contract that promised to bring in at least $3.5 Billion in revenue for the state. The governor does have the option to challenge Kane's decision in court.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she wouldn't approve the 20- to 30-year contract with Camelot because she says elements of it conflict with the state constitution and state lottery law.

Corbett could challenge Kane's decision in court. The contract's legality is also being challenged in court by Democratic lawmakers and the union that represents lottery employees.

Feb 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Governor Corbett

Valentine's Day is the one day that men everywhere have the responsibility to make the women closest to us feel special and loved. It is a moment to take time out of our busy day to buy them flowers or chocolates. Open a bottle of champaign and tell them how important they are.

Somehow Governor Corbett didn't get the memo.

Today newly elected Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane issued a statement rejecting on constitutional grounds the contract Corbett and his administration signed with an English firm that would privatize the state's lottery system. In her statement Kane said that the Corbett overstepped his authority by moving forward with the contract.

Ouch! I guess Corbett forgot to send those roses that he has been meaning to send Kane since her election last November.

Kane also has moved forward in naming a special prosecutor to review Corbett's handling of the Sandusky investigation full filling the campaign promise she made during the election last year.

Now Corbett and his campaign staff must deal with a potential challenge from PA Congresswoman Allison Schwartz. News broke today that Schwartz is officially laying the ground work for a campaign to challenge Corbett in the gubernatorial election next year.

I guess Congresswoman Schwartz never got those chocolate covered strawberries you forgot to send her Governor.

As you can see our Governor is having some women troubles this Valentine's Day. I for one will be popping a bottle of champagn and watching how this all plays out.


Treasurer McCord Issues Statement on Attorney General’s Rejection of Lottery Management Contract

Harrisburg – State Treasurer Rob McCord issued the following statement on Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s announcement today that she would not approve the Corbett Administration’s contract to turn management of the Pennsylvania Lottery over to a private company:

“I commend the Attorney General for her independent review and subsequent rejection of the administration’s attempt to expand gambling through the state contracting process.

“The administration was repeatedly warned, as early as last year, that the proposed contract would permit new forms of gambling not currently authorized by the Legislature and not regulated by the Gaming Control Board.

“Expanding the Lottery is a policy decision that should include the General Assembly, not be done through a closed-door contracting process. Beyond the legal issues, this proposal also raised serious questions about how best to serve seniors efficiently with the programs that the Lottery pays for.”

Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejects Governor Corbett's lotterycontract

Office of Attorney General disapproves Lottery contract with Camelot

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) today announced its determination that the proposed Lottery contract with Camelot Global Services violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and is not statutorily authorized.

"The Office of Attorney General conducted a very thorough review of the Professional Management Agreement, the State Constitution, the State Lottery Act, the Gaming Act and applicable case authority and has determined that it cannot approve the contract to allow Camelot to operate and manage the Pennsylvania Lottery," Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said.

The Attorney General is required under the Commonwealth Attorney's Act to review contracts for 'form and legality.' In a memorandum to David Kraus, Chief Counsel for the Department of Revenue, Robert A. Mulle, Chief Deputy Attorney General and head of the OAG Legal Review Section, provided three reasons why the Professional Management Agreement (PMA) failed the 'form and legality' test.

First, the memo states that the Executive Branch exceeded its authority under Article II, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution by unlawfully infringing on the General Assembly?s power to make basic policy choices regarding the management and operation of the Lottery.

Second, the memo states that the development of monitor-based or other electronic games, such as KENO, is not authorized by the State Lottery Act and usurps the authority granted by the General Assembly to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Lastly, the memo points out that allowing Camelot to be indemnified for "indirect expenses," as provided in the PMA, is an unconstitutional waiver of the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity as set forth in Article I, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

"It is our duty to defend and protect the Constitution of our Commonwealth and that is what our office has done by declining this contract," Kane said. "In the course of making this determination, I have taken the advice and counsel of the Executive Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division and the Chief Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Legal Review Section. Together, these attorneys have many years of experience reviewing Commonwealth contracts for 'form and legality.' It should be noted that these attorneys worked for the Governor when he was Attorney General, as well as several Attorneys General before him."

Kane continued, "Promising money to people in need based on a contract that is not legal and then blaming those entrusted to do their job correctly is both disingenuous and a perfect example of putting the cart before the horse. It is important that my office perform its role in the system of checks and balances that our government desperately needs and that our citizens deserve."

The text of the memorandum issued by the Office of Attorney General to the Department of Revenue is set forth below:

February 14, 2013

SUBJECT: Contract 2013-005

TO: David R. Kraus
Chief Counsel
Department of Revenue

FROM: Robert A. Mulle
Chief Deputy Attorney General
Legal Review Section

We have given careful review to proposed Contract # 2013-005 by which the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue would retain Camelot Global Services PA, LLC, to operate and manage the State Lottery.

As you know, the authority of the Secretary of Revenue to enter into this Professional Management Agreement (PMA) is being litigated before the Commonwealth Court. We would prefer to refrain from reviewing the contract pending a ruling by the Court and for that reason we requested that the contract be withdrawn. Because the administration declined our request, we proceeded with our legal review as required by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act. 71 P.S. §732-101 et seq.

Section 204(f) of the Act requires the Office of Attorney General to approve the proposed contract unless we determine that the contract is in improper form, not statutorily authorized, or unconstitutional.

Our review of the proposed contract, the relevant law and the administration?s answers to the questions posed in our tolling memorandum of February 5, 2013, leads us to conclude that the proposed contract contravenes the Pennsylvania Constitution and is not statutorily authorized. We therefore do not approve the PMA for the following reasons:

1. The PMA is an unlawful extension of executive authority that infringes on the General Assembly?s power to make basic policy choices regarding the management and operation of the Lottery pursuant to Article 2, §1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The State Lottery Act does not confer express or implied authority upon the Secretary of Revenue to privatize the operation and management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. That authority rests with the General Assembly.

2. The contract provides for the development of monitor-based or other electronic games, such as KENO, which is not authorized by the State Lottery Act and usurps the authority of the Gaming Control Board with regard to slot machines as defined by the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, 4 Pa.C.S. §1103.

3. The proposed contract provides for claims by the vendor for indemnification of "indirect expenses." Such open and undefined indemnification constitutes an unconstitutional waiver of the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity as set forth in the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 1, Section 11.

In reaching these legal conclusions, we express no opinion on either the wisdom of the policies or the soundness of the business decisions embodied in the contract.

Finally, as required by Section 204(f) of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, we are providing copies of this memorandum to the Office of General Counsel and the General Assembly.

cc: James D. Schultz, General Counsel
Mark R. Corrigan, Secretary of the Senate
Anthony Frank Barbush, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives

PSEA & The Art of the Bargaining Chip

Guest Column by Lowman S. Henry

One of the most common rhetorical techniques used by politicians to disguise the true nature of a proposed policy is to give legislation a name implying something totally different. For example, the health reform measure popularly known as Obamacare is officially entitled the Affordable Health Care Reform Act of 2010. It is about government control, not health care; and the results have been anything but affordable.

So it was that the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association - which is really a teacher union, not an education association - audaciously claimed that: "Using public school students as a political bargaining chip is a bad idea." Mike Crossey was talking about Governor Tom Corbett's plan to dedicate new revenue generated by the privatization of the state's antiquated liquor store system to grants for public education.

The PSEA's suggestion that "using public school students as a political bargaining chip is a bad idea" is the public policy equivalent of a Jedi mind trick. For the cinematically-challenged that means to claim something is other than what is actually standing in front of you. The fact is the PSEA has shown a remarkable willingness to use as a bargaining chip whoever and whatever is necessary to achieve its union power goals.

The PSEA bludgeons local school boards, taxpayers and parents by going out on strike if they don't get what they want in contract negotiations. The degree to which students are held hostage is evidenced by the fact that Pennsylvania perennially leads the nation in the number of teacher strikes. If Mr. Crossey and the labor union he leads truly were appalled at the thought of using students as bargaining chips, they would support legislation aimed at making teacher strikes in Pennsylvania illegal.

And, students are not the only ones the PSEA will hold hostage to achieve its political goals. The union opposes the right of parents to decide for themselves which public, private or parochial school their child should attend. PSEA wages war against other forms of school choice such as the establishment of charter and cyber charter schools. As a result, hundreds of thousands of students are trapped in failing schools. If Mr. Crossey and the labor union he leads truly were appalled at the thought of using students as bargaining chips, they would support legislation that empowers parents with full school choice rights.

Not only does the PSEA hold the threat of strikes over the heads of taxpayers, but they force taxpayers to subsidize the collection of union dues via payroll deduction. This adds administrative cost to school district budgets, dollars which could otherwise be dedicated to student education. If Mr. Crossey and the labor union he leads truly were appalled at the thought of using students as bargaining chips, they would collect their own dues rather than have taxpayers foot the bill.

The current instance of PSEA caterwauling about the governor's plan to dedicate new revenue from a privatized liquor system to education further illustrates its commitment to union power over serving students. Their true concern here is not education dollars; it is preservation of the jobs of their union brethren in the state store system. Unions now represent less than 12% of all American households; those are mostly in the public sector. The PSEA's true goal here is to prevent further erosion of union membership and lucrative dues dollars.

Governor Tom Corbett has been subjected to a steady barrage of bashing by the PSEA for so-called cuts to public education. State dollars have, in fact, remained rather constant. The "cuts" have come from federal stimulus dollars that were temporary. So, the real blame for the "cuts" lies on Barack Obama and the federal government, not Tom Corbett and state government. The Corbett liquor privatization plan finds a way to help replace some of those lost dollars.

You would think the PSEA would applaud such a move, but then again you would have to believe that that an organization built on using students as bargaining chips would actually care about their well-being.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Feb 13, 2013

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane says not so fast Governor Corbett on approving lottery contract

Gov. Tom Corbett is pressing state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to say whether she'll approve a contract to hire a British firm to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery.

Camelot Global Services' bid to take over lottery management from state employees expires

Saturday. Kane has a little over three weeks to decide whether the 20- to 30-year contract is legal. In the meantime, the contract's legality is being challenged in court by Democratic lawmakers and the union that represents lottery employees.

According to The Patriot-News, Kane's spokewoman Ellen Mellody described the nearly 200-page proposed contract as specialized and unique.
"It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that the ongoing form and legality review, is a simple, ministerial exercise," she said in an emailed response.
"The Office of the Attorney General personnel assigned to review the contract for form and legality has years of experience serving under several attorneys general, and is reviewing the contract for form and legality -- not politics or policy," Mellody stated
Kane, a Democrat, isn't saying when she'll decide, but says it's disingenuous to suggest that the contract review is a simple, ministerial exercise. Corbett, a Republican, says he expects a decision this week, but isn't saying whether he's discussing a bid extension with Camelot.

Governor Corbett vs Congresswoman Allison Schwartz

The upcoming gubernatorial race here in Pennsylvania is all the buzz in political circles. The word is Pennsylvania Congresswoman Allison Schwartz is laying a strong foundation for a run against incumbent republican Governor Tom Corbett.

Reports coming out of last week's Democratic Party Committee meetings suggests that Schwartz is 80% sure she is running, but she is all in considering Governor Corbett's dismal polling numbers.

Schwartz is a seasoned lawmaker with both statewide name recognition and national appeal. Meaning the national party would give her tremendous resources to defeat a rising GOP party power player like Corbett.

Schwartz has a big war chest and would probably be five to six points ahead of Corbett if polling was conducted right now. Schwartz may be the strongest challenger Corbett has ever faced in his political career.

There is no doubt Corbett is facing some tough challenges when it comes to his reelection campaign. To be quite honest Corbett has a Sandusky Scandal problem here in Central Pennsylvania. The area of the state Corbett desperately needs if he wants to win a second term.

Despite whether or not you think Corbett handled the investigation properly as PA Attorney General or not the uncertainty surrounding the scandal combined with his role on the Penn State Board of Trustees in the firing of Joe Paterno will be the elephant in the room throughout the campaign.

If Schwartz is truly all in then it is game over for the Corbett Administration here in Pennsylvania.

Feb 11, 2013

Dick Thornbourgh: Freeh hastily misjudged Paterno

In today's world of 24-hour cable news and non-stop social media, we as a society are increasingly demanding instant answers and snap judgments. We see stories explode on the Internet almost every day and thousands of voices rush out to pass judgments. But, in the haste to find instant answers, the true story is often missed and justice ill-served.

The condemnation of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal is an example of what can happen when pressure to produce a result outruns the record. In the end, the evidence against Paterno falls far short of sustaining allegations that he attempted in any way to conceal or cover-up Sandusky's sexual abuse of children. In fact, the contrary is true.

In the case of Paterno, this was a rush to injustice.

There is no question that Sandusky's conduct was reprehensible. He has been dealt with appropriately by our justice system, having been sentenced to serve up to 60 years in prison for his crimes. The lives of Sandusky's victims will never be the same, and I feel deeply for them and their families.

When the allegations against Sandusky became widely known in 2011, the Penn State Board of Trustees hastily dismissed Joe Paterno after 61 years of service to the Penn State. Only after dismissing him did the board retain former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct an investigation of the matters involving Sandusky at the university. Freeh prepared a report that concluded that Paterno and three other high-level officials at Penn State conspired together to conceal information about Sandusky for a decade. The board released the Freeh report without review, and weeks later the NCAA used the report to apply unprecedented sanctions against Penn State without conducting its own investigation.

The problem with all of this is that, upon close examination, the Freeh report does not stand up to the kind of scrutiny it deserves.

Although I was retained by the Paterno family to review the report, I was asked to make an independent assessment of the Freeh report and not asked to reach any particular result. I would not have accepted this assignment had it been otherwise.

After reviewing the Freeh report and examining the limited evidence cited by Freeh as well as additional materials from court proceedings and other sources, I can say without qualification that the Freeh report is seriously flawed, both with respect to the process of its investigation and its findings related to Paterno.

The Freeh report claims that it conducted a "complete" investigation. This is not accurate. Despite the fact that they supposedly conducted 430 interviews, Freeh investigators did not speak to virtually any of the persons who had the most important and relevant information. Contrary to a widespread belief, Freeh did not have subpoena power and could not use any other tools of a law enforcement investigation to compel people to talk to his investigators.

The usefulness of the Freeh report is also restricted because many of the interviewees cited are not identified, limiting the reader's ability to weigh the witnesses' credibility and reliability. The failure to conduct key interviews is all the more consequential because of the lack of relevant documents. Although the Freeh report claimed to review more than 3.5 million documents, the report references and relies upon only about 30 documents, including 17 e-mails. Notably, none of the documents most critical to Freeh's damning allegations against Paterno were sent or received by him.

Indeed, none of the evidence cited by Freeh supports a claim that Paterno acted to conceal information about Sandusky. In fact, the evidence is contrary to a cover-up. Most significantly, the findings in the Freeh report about Paterno, particularly concerning his alleged concealment of 1998 and 2001 incidents involving Sandusky, are not supported by credible evidence. Instead, the Freeh report attempts to construct an unsubstantiated "collective guilt" among Paterno and three senior university officials.

Another key finding was that the motivation for Paterno and the others to conspire to conceal information about Sandusky was to avoid bad publicity. However, the Freeh report contains no support for this finding, and it seems to be pure speculation. It was widely reported that Paterno did not like Sandusky much and informed him in 1999 that he would not be the next head football coach at Penn State, resulting in Sandusky leaving before the 2001 incident involving a young boy in a university shower room. Thus, if one were to speculate, it actually is more likely that Paterno, who had a long-time commitment to improving the lives of his players and other young adults, would have reported the 2001 incident to authorities if he had known of a former coach's criminal conduct.

When the evidence relied upon in the Freeh report is considered in an objective manner, it is clear that its findings are not accurate, supportable or fair. The fact that there also is no evidence that Paterno or anyone else ever instructed anyone not to discuss the Sandusky incident undermines the finding that Paterno conspired with others to cover it up. This lack of evidence supporting the report's most scathing findings and the serious flaws with respect to the process of Freeh's investigation cause me to conclude that the report's findings concerning Paterno are unjust and wrong.

Why is all this important to anyone beyond the legacy of one man? The Freeh report -- by rushing to supply harsh judgments without facts -- undermines our faith in justice and due process. If it is allowed to stand unchallenged, it will establish a terrible precedent to justify accepting unsupported allegations as true. That is incompatible with the American system of justice that we all cherish.

Dick Thornburgh served as Pennsylvania governor and then U.S. attorney general. Currently, he is counsel to the law firm of K&L Gates LLP.

Nike Co-Founder, Phil Knight, Reverses His Judgement of Joe Paterno in Statement to ESPN

This is perhaps the most interesting development to happen since the Paterno family released their report on Sunday.

Last July I was surprised and saddened by the Freeh Report and the subsequent press conference held by the former FBI Director. In response to the shocking findings, which were so definitively and passionately presented, and based on the reputation of Louis Freeh, I issued a statement which said in part, "According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day."

I made this statement without having read the report in full. When I later took the time to do so, I was surprised to learn that the alarming allegations, which so disturbed the nation, were essentially theories and assertions rather than solid charges backed by solid evidence. On reflection I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment.

With the release of the report by the King and Spalding law firm, including analysis by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former FBI profiler James Clemente, it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated. When this tragic story first unfolded Joe cautioned all of us to slow down and carefully gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. We owed it to the victims, he said, to get to the truth. It was counsel we all should have followed. Additionally, The NCAA's actions are exposed as totally unwarranted. The NCAA acted outside its charter and rendered judgment absent any kind of investigation or judicial hearing. It was simply grandstanding.

And while some may still debate the who, what, when, where, why of this sad case, the clear villain, as Jim Clemente notes, is Jerry Sandusky himself.

Got to love how Knight calls out the NCAA in this statement. I think we can now say that the Paterno family has begun to gain some credibility and momentum. The media personalities who are questioning the credibility of the Paterno Family Report are beginning to look like fools once people have begun to diggest the contents of it. If you are a reporter or journalist and you want to question the credibility of people like former Pennsylvania Governer & Attorney General Dick Thornbough go ahead. You will just end up looking like the fools you are.

Feb 10, 2013

Analysis of Paterno Family Report

Perhaps the Paterno family-commissioned report, "Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno," won't change your mind on the former Penn State coach's culpability in any cover-up regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Since the scandal started to dominate the news about 15 months ago, strong opinions have already been formed on both sides.

But as the family-commissioned review blasts the accuracy of the Freeh report and its widespread acceptance of the report as fact, and also the NCAA's use of it to levy major sanctions on Penn State that may have overstepped its jurisdiction, it at very least brings up some questions about the Freeh report and its findings.

Some will use the review of the Freeh report to strengthen their belief that Paterno has been singled out and unfairly treated for his role. Others will probably dismiss it as a one-sided account looking to restore Paterno's tarnished legacy that doesn't look closely enough into what missteps Paterno actually did take during the ordeal.

The Washington D.C.-based law firm of King &; Spalding released the review of the Freeh report, citing independent expert reports by former U.S. attorney general Dick Thornburgh, former FBI profiler, prosecutor and child sex crimes expert Jim Clemente, and Dr. Fred Berlin, a physician, psychiatrist and psychologist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine. The review pounds on the flaws in the findings of former FBI director Louis Freeh, and his "headline grabbing theories" based on little or no evidence, and even takes time to personally criticize some of Freeh's missteps when he was FBI director. The King & Spalding review states "The Freeh report is based on numerous errors and unsupported opinions." Among the King & Spalding review's accusations and claims:

• The review states the Freeh report based most of its findings on emails that Paterno never authored or received, and Freeh takes liberties in assuming what the emails were about and Paterno's involvement in the conversations that led to the email messages. For example, regarding a 1998 incident with Sandusky in which an email says "Coach is anxious to know where it stands," the King & Spalding report argues there is reasonable doubt that "coach" doesn't refer to Paterno could just as likely refer to Sandusky. The review is critical of Freeh for reporting his "opinions" as fact and not acknowledging any gaps in them or possible differing explanations based on incomplete evidence.

Louis Freeh (AP)
• The King & Spalding review repeatedly points out that Freeh did not speak to many of the key figures involved. The review says Freeh "never afforded meaningful opportunity for Joe Paterno, his representatives, or any neutral third party to assess or even respond to Mr. Freeh’s opinions before he announced them as proven at a national press conference." Freeh said in a statement Sunday that through Paterno's attorneys, Paterno declined to talk to him. The review pointed out that while Freeh uses the email threads as a large basis of his report, the only person involved with the emails or any key witness he ever spoke to was former PSU president Graham Spanier, which points out the possible flaws in his final findings. Freeh said multiple interview requests were made for former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, but they declined to speak on the advice of their attorneys.

• The review says Freeh calling a press conference less than 45 minutes after releasing his report was to ensure there was a "rush to judgment" before a meaningful review of the report could be done by the media.

• The review paints Paterno as not being close to Sandusky outside of work, and fooled by Sandusky's manipulations and lies, as were others.

"Between 1998 and 2001 alone, the following trained experts were fooled by Sandusky’s deceptions: a detective, a police officer, a caseworker for the Department of Public Welfare, a caseworker for the Centre County Children and Youth Services, an outside counselor who did contract work for Children and Youth Services, and apparently everyone at a kids charity, The Second Mile, including its executive director, Jack Raykovitz, who is a licensed psychologist," the review stated.

The review also brought up Sandusky being allowed to adopt six children without being exposed as a sex offender on six different occasions, saying "Sandusky was evaluated by state officials and a Pennsylvania judge for fitness to adopt; and six times Sandusky passed that expert scrutiny."

It says former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary's vague comments to Paterno about what he saw at the Penn State football facility in 2001 with Sandusky in the shower with a young boy could not lead Paterno to make the assumption Sandusky – who had manipulated an entire community to trust him – was a predatory child sex offender. In a statement on Sunday, Freeh said Paterno's grand jury testimony in which he said McQueary told Paterno he saw Sandusky "fondling" a young boy and Paterno said, "[o]bviously, he was doing something with the youngster. It was a sexual nature. I'm not sure exactly what it was. I didn't push Mike to describe exactly what it was because he was very upset" was critical in his report.

• The review's criticism of the NCAA say it overstepped its bounds in issuing such an unprecedented and heavy-handed punishment on Penn State for "Sandusky's personal crimes" even though there were no infractions of NCAA rules, and also points out the NCAA's improper conduct in its investigation on Miami's possible improper benefits, its handling of former USC assistant coach Todd McNair that has led to a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA and accusations of prejudice in the case of UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammad. The King & Spalding report says the Penn State sanctions, based largely on a Freeh report it claims was flawed, had nothing to do with the NCAA's core mission of "ensuring competitive balance in amateur athletics."

Parts of the Paterno family-commissioned review come off as transparent public relations pleas. The review delves into the well-documented good deeds that Paterno did at Penn State, including mostly irrelevant tidbits like Paterno turning down NFL jobs decades ago to stay at the school, as evidence that he couldn't be part of a cover up. The review scolds Freeh for missing an opportunity to educate the public on identification and prevention of sexual molestation by child predators, while the 238-page review mostly focuses on clearing Paterno's name. It also goes through lengths to paint the review as an unbiased view compared to Freeh's opinions and says it would have accepted the experts' findings even if they were negative against Paterno, although it's logically difficult to believe the Paterno family would have paid to commission such a project and then released a report that criticized Joe Paterno.

The Paterno family-commissioned report tries to paint Freeh as injecting his personal opinions into his damning accusations against Paterno, when the review claims he didn't have the evidence to do so.
“(I)t is clear that the Freeh report’s key findings regarding Joe Paterno are unsubstantiated by the evidence, are the product of Mr. Freeh’s personal opinions, and are entitled to no more weight than any other observer’s views of these events,” the review said.
Freeh himself released a lengthy statement defending his report, including his use of Paterno's grand jury testimony, and Freeh's statement can be seen in full here from ABCNews.com.
"I respect the right of the Paterno family to hire private lawyers and former government officials to conduct public media campaigns in an effort to shape the legacy of Joe Paterno," the statement began.

"However, the self-serving report the Paterno family has issued today does not change the facts established in the Freeh Report or alter the conclusions reached in the Freeh Report."

Paterno Family Report characterizes the Free Report "A Rush to Injustice"

Below is today's Paterno family press release "A Rush to In Justice" ripping apart the Free Report. It looks like the Paterno family and their lawyers have done a pretty comprehensive and thorough evaluation the record. The report is a must read today.

“A Rush to Injustice”
The Failure of the Freeh report
Former Attorney General Thornburgh and Top FBI Profiler challenge findings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and a team of other high-level experts have found that the Freeh report commissioned by the Penn State University Board of Trustees in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal is factually wrong, speculative and “fundamentally flawed.”

In a comprehensive analysis released today [Feb. 10, 2013], Thornburgh and former top FBI profiler Jim Clemente, prominent Washington Attorney Wick Sollers and the director of The Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit, Dr. Fred Berlin, conclude that the Freeh report was a failure that does not meet the basic requirements of a thorough, objective and fair investigation.

Based on a review of all available evidence, including discussions with attorneys representing Curley, Schultz and Spanier, the experts conclude that the late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno did not attempt to hide any information or hinder or impede any investigation related to the crimes or conduct of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In what Thornburgh condemns as a “rush to injustice” regarding the Freeh report’s treatment of Joe Paterno, the former Attorney General said that “by supplying judgments without fact, (the Freeh report) undermines our faith in justice and due process.” The six-month analysis, composed of four separate independent reviews, is the most comprehensive and detailed examination of the Freeh report conducted to date. Among other findings, the experts determined that the conclusions of the Freeh report are based on raw speculation and unsupported opinion – not facts and evidence.

The Freeh report failed its client, the Penn State University Board of Trustees, and, more significantly, it failed Sandusky’s victims by not finding the truth. The Freeh report ignored decades of expert research and analysis of the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child sexual victimization case, according to former top FBI profiler Clemente. The Freeh investigation was doomed from the beginning because it started with the wrong assumptions, Clemente concludes.

“The Freeh report is a profound failure,” Sollers said. “It isn't a little wrong on the minor issues. It is totally wrong on the most critical issues. That the Board and the NCAA relied on this report, without appropriate review or analysis, is a miscarriage of justice.”

Other major findings include:
  • The allegation is false that Joe Paterno participated in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky's actions because of a fear of bad publicity or for any other reason.
  • There is no evidence to support the allegation that the football culture at Penn State was somehow to blame for Sandusky's crimes. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh says that including such a claim, with no factual basis to support it, undermines the credibility of the entire report.
  • Freeh's failure to conduct interviews with most of the key witnesses is a glaring deficiency. In the 1998 incident, for example, Freeh's investigators failed to interview at least 14 of the most important witnesses, including Curley, Schultz, the District Attorney's office, the Department of Public Welfare and the University's police department or its outside legal counsel. This pattern was repeated in the 2001 review. Having never talked with these individuals, the Freeh report still claimed to know what they did and why they did it.
  • Freeh investigators did not have subpoena power, and no one testified under oath. Worse, witnesses were allowed to speak anonymously, something that would never happen in a legitimate legal proceeding.
  • The conspiracy claim made by the Freeh report based on a string of three emails falls apart under scrutiny. Because of a technology switch in 2004, most of the Penn State emails for the time in question are not accessible. Moreover, there are no emails authored by Joe Paterno and none that he received. In fact, the emails referenced by the Freeh report show that Joe Paterno knew few details about Sandusky, that he acted in good faith and that he did what he thought was right based on what he knew at the time.
  • The validity and thoroughness of the Freeh report was oversold to the public, leading to the report being accepted in full and without review by The Board of Trustees and the NCAA.
Click Here to download the full Paterno Family report. Or visit their website at Paterno.com

Feb 9, 2013

Comprehensive report by the Paterno family may set the record straight

Tomorrow the Paterno family report clarifying what Joe Paterno knew about the Sandusky child abuse scandal is going to be released at 9:00 AM. The report will be released at http://www.paterno.com.

For many of us critical of the Freeh Report this report by the Paterno has been much anticipated. I have read the Free Report and have conversed with several bloggers and academics who feel the report was a shame paid for by a Board of Trustees who were desperate to assign blame in the face of a media fire storm.

Despite the media's acceptance of the Freeh Report as the current record, many feel it lacked a certain factual basis and basically was filled with accusations and assumptions.

As for the Paterno report, all indications are the 180 page document is a comprehensive review of the current record clarifying Joe Paterno's actions and a scathing indictment of the Freeh Report. There are also rumors suggesting the report will be the foundation of lawsuit filed against the a NCAA next week by the Paterno family.

Despite your personal beliefs regarding the Sandusky Scandal, I hope you understand that the Sue Paterno and her family have every right to release this report. Some bloggers and members of the media are already criticizing the report before it has even been released for being biased and lacking credibility just because the Paterno's paid for it.

I just find this unacceptable and unprofessional. How are the Paterno families motives any different than the University's Board of Trustees who had every motivation to assign blame in the face of a media fire storm? So the board pays for the Freeh Report and somehow it is more credible. That is just ridiculous.

For those of us seeking the truth in regards to the Sandusky Scandal, I am looking forward to reading the report tomorrow and will judge it on it's factual merits.