Thursday, January 20, 2011

As the DAs turn

There is a veritable smorgasbord of Delaware County district attorneys swimming around the investigation into alleged forgeries on the nominating petititions of new Congressman Pat Meehan.

You can start with Meehan. The Drexel Hill Republican served as Delco’s top lawman before being tapped to be U.S. attorney for eastern Pennsylvania.

When he took the fed post, he was succeeded by his neighbor, Mike Green.

Last summer, when Meehan got wind of problems with his petitions, he smartly beat Democrats – who were also looking into the situation – to the punch by going to Green and asking him to investigate.

Green decided to kick it up to the state level to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, seeing as how he had contributed to Meehan’s campaign.

The matter sat for months on the watch of Attorney General Tom Corbett, who Meehan just happened to endorse for governor. Meehan actually considered a run for the post himself, before giving way to his fellow Republican lawman. Meehan then set his sights on the 7th District Congress post, where the whole petition flap originated.

But proving that what goes around, comes around, the matter is now once again in the bailiwick of still one more former Delco D.A.

That’s because when Corbett was sworn in this week as the state’s 46th governor, his No. 2 man took the reins as interim attorney general.

That would be none other than former Delco D.A. Bill Ryan, yes, one more in the long line of Upper Darby Republicans to fill the post as Delco’s top lawman.

None of which is making Upper Darby Democrats feel terribly comfortable that anything is going to come of the situation.

No one seems to be arguing that there were some forgeries on Meehan’s petitions, though no one is hinting that the candidate had anything to do with it.

No one in the attorney general’s office is talking about it, other than the fact that the investigation in “ongoing.”

We contacted Ryan yesterday and he isn’t talking about anything, not even whether his name is being considered to fill the position full-time. He said he won’t be making any public comments until that matter is resolved.

Corbett yesterday indicated he would focus on his Cabinet nominations before dealing with the matter of his permanent successor as attorney general. He did indicate that Ryan would be among those considered, but that the person he puts in the post will have to fill the remainder of his term, and not seek re-election to a full term.

That might be problematic for Ryan, who likely wouldn’t mind taking a run at the seat for himself.

“I pretty much know who it is,” Corbett said.

What we don’t know is if anything will ever come of that petition investigation.

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