Why am I not surprised to learn that former Governor Ed Rendell is one of the many that vouched for and sought leniency for former State Senate kingpin Robert Mellow, the latest General Assembly crook to fall?
Mellow was appropriately sentenced to 16 months in prison for his role in raping the taxpayers, engaging in a systematic pattern of fraud to ensure that he would be a Senate powerhouse for life or as long as he wished to serve.
Mellow's attorneys had the audacity to argue that he should receive no prison time due to a variety of factors, and that the rules were changed in the middle of the game, the "everybody does it" defense, an explanation which was not successful when utilized by other former legislator multiple felons.
What is it that happens to our state "leaders" when they are firmly ensconced in their positions in Harrisburg? Is there something in the municipal water system of the mid-state that converts them from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, the crazed House or Senate member that seeks to use "other people's money" as Vincent Fumo, another fallen legislative thief, famously said? No, that could not be it; I am sure these folks are drinking bottled water at our expense.
I take no delight in seeing anyone go to prison, particularly someone like Robert Mellow, an ill 69-year-old man with a disabled child for whom he provides care, but he brought this upon himself and his family. There would be no justice system if anything less than some prison time were dispensed to someone who expectorated in the face of those who elected him and in the faces of all Pennsylvanians, whose tax dollars he stole and misused.
Governor Rendell has a long pattern of association with those who compose the ugly underbelly of state government: the incarcerated Vincent Fumo, Stephen Stetler, and Mike Veon, to name a few. He should be ashamed of himself and he should not be looked up to as a revered elder statesman. We are known by the company we keep. What does that say for Governor Rendell?
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