Governor Ed Rendell and corruption problems

This from John Fund at OpinionJournals Political Diary. This piece doesn't mention other problems Rendell has faced regarding slot machines and appointments to the commission.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell frequently has been looked at cross-eyed by other Democrats for his questionable party loyalty -- even when he was party boss. That made it all the more newsworthy when, apparently safe in his own reelection race against former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, he last week delivered $200,000 in campaign cash to Bob Casey, the state treasurer seeking to unseat GOP Sen. Rick Santorum.

Here's an unsung factor that may explain the previously cool Mr. Rendell's sudden activism on Mr. Casey's behalf. A new Santorum ad, denounced as "misleading" by goo-goo groups, features actors playing unidentified Casey donors discussing their doings -- behind bars. Though the ad takes dramatic license, it alludes to a real, late-breaking problem for Democrats: An FBI investigation of Philadelphia-area developer Robert Feldman, who has raised millions for Messrs. Rendell and Casey as well as for John Street, Mr. Rendell's successor as Philadelphia mayor. The Philadelphia Inquirer last week quoted from an FBI surveillance tape that caught Mr. Feldman complaining about being shut out of a Penn's Landing development deal three years ago: "I've got nothing. I've raised a ton of money for the mayor. I'm raising right now for him. Maybe I should make this my 'big ask.'"

A lingering frost had been perceived between the two Democrats, Mr. Casey and Mr. Rendell, since their nasty fight for the 2002 gubernatorial nomination. The popular Gov. Rendell endorsed his former rival for Senate and, more importantly, worked behind the scenes to secure the nomination for him, but that's not the same thing as fervently advocating his cause in the general election. He hasn't cut any ads for Mr. Casey. Worse, just a few weeks ago, he went out of his way to praise Mr. Santorum in back-to-back interviews as a senator who "delivers" for Pennsylvania. Mr. Santorum has since closed the gap markedly, though Mr. Casey is still favored. . . .



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