Friday, January 29, 2010

Dan Onorato, Secret Corbett Supporter?

Capitolwire claims it is "the premier on-line news and information service" for key state issues. It's also the most expensive. When I once talked a sales rep. into offering me a student discount, it was atill a lot more than I ever remembered paying for tuition. Students must be much richer these days. I have to content myself with the occasional free, two-week, subscriptions.

I wish I had a subscription now. Harrisburg Bureau Chief Peter DeCoursey has developed my blog entry yesterday about Allegheny County Exec Dan Onorato. So has Alex Roarty at PoliticsPA.

Both of these reporters confirm what I told you yesterday, thank God. DA John Morganelli did drive to Pittsburgh several times last year under the impression that Onorato, a gubernatorial hopeful and fellow Democrat, would help John raise money for his Attorney General race against Tom Corbett.

That would only make sense. It was well known, even in 2008, that Corbett would springboard from the AG's office and Bonusgate right into the Governor's mansion.

But according to what Morganelli told these reporters, things made no sense at all. He met Onorato in March of 2008, when he was the sole candidate for AG from the Democratic party, and Onorato arranged a fundraiser in July at Pittsburgh's swanky Downtown Club.

In Morganelli's own words,

"We were in constant touch with his staff up to 2 days before event. I drove 6 hrs to Pittsburgh arrived at event and no one showed up!!

“Onorato arrived about 6:15 pm - 45 minutes late - and said there had been a mistake and that I should stay overnite and meet the next day with Ed Gratton his campaign money guy. So I did. Then they told me that I should come back in August and that they would raise all the money by then.

“I came back August 10-- another 6 [hour] trip. They said they had checks for me and that they would be delivered to my hotel - none ever showed up.

“I again left Pittsburgh with NOTHING. Then I was told that money was going to be mailed to me-- none arrived. I asked Dan if he could just make a personal campaign contribution to me since he had 6 million dollars - he gave [ultimately successful Democratic treasurer candidate Rob] McCord like $10,000. But Onorato would not release money to me. … I was disappointed but not angry. He must have had his reasons but never told me. I have donated $8000 to Jack Wagner. I think Jack is a man of his word and a man of integrity. But I really am over it and have no ill will towards Dan.”


The check is in the mail. Ever hear that one?

Of course, Onorato and Corbett supporters alike claim Morganelli is "ridiculous" or "incorrect" or "illogical."

But Morganelli, who did not become and remain a District Attorney by being any of those things, is adamant. “I was told he was for Corbett by a Pittsburgh guy not associated with the campaign on my third trip when I could not understand why Onorato would not even say hello to me." He insists that Onorato, the presuptive Democratic nominee for Governor, supported Corbett, the Republicans' most likely candidate.

Illogical? Not necessarily. If Onorato is capable of misleading Morganelli, he's certainly capable of making deals in a race he will likely lose. Maybe he just finished reading Machiavelli or Sun Tzu.

I find it interesting that spokespersons for this and that campaign bluster away, but Onorato himself seems to be mum.

Maybe he's sending that check now.

If Onorato is incapable of being forthright with the District Attorney of Northampton County, is there any reason to believe he'll be straight with you? That's a question the Democratic State Committee might want to consider before making its usual mistake of endorsing a candidate in a contested race.


Update: Capitolwire Report Republished Here! Capitolwire has kindly agreed to allow me to republish its story here.

Capitolwire: Morganelli says Onorato sandbagged him twice in 2008 race.

By Peter L. DeCoursey
Bureau Chief
Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (Jan. 28) – The 2008 Democratic nominee for attorney general now says Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato twice sandbagged his campaign.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, who was his party’s pick for the state’s top law enforcement job, said fellow Democrat Onorato tricked him twice into him into driving to Allegheny County for fund-raisers in empty rooms that produced no cash.

Morganelli was running then against Attorney General Tom Corbett, who is now the heavy favorite for the Republican State Committee endorsement for governor. Onorato is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and has raised far more cash than any of his rivals.

Northampton, in the Lehigh Valley, is one of the counties farthest from Allegheny. Morganelli wrote in an e-mail, referring to Onorato: “I was told he was for Corbett by a Pittsburgh guy not associated with the campaign on my third trip when I could not understand why Onorato would not even say hello to me.

“… I was not angry, just disappointed [because] I think Dan's support in Allegheny County - rather than his support of Corbett - and some serious money could have made a difference” in Morganelli’s race with Corbett.
Onorato campaign spokesman Brian Herman responded that Morganelli was wrong about both of his allegations.

Herman wrote in an e-mail: “Dan Onorato has been and will remain a strong supporter of Democrats across the commonwealth. While we understand Mr. Morganelli's frustration at being defeated, it is simply inaccurate to link that loss to Dan's support of his campaign."

Morganelli responded by e-mail: “I am NOT linking Dan's 'NON SUPPORT' to my loss - I think his support could have helped but was not determinative. The fact is that he did NOT support me - that is a fact and they cannot deny that I was led out there twice by Onorato to obtain no support.”

Herman responded that "the suggestion that Dan Onorato supported Tom Corbett is both incorrect and illogical.”

Party insiders said Morganelli's claim of Onorato supporting Corbett in the 2008 race or before is wrong.

Mary Isenhour, executive director of Democratic State Committee, said of the alleged Onorato endorsement of Corbett: "Not to my knowledge. Dan Onorato has always been very helpful to the party and to our candidates."
Ray Zaborney is a GOP consultant with long-standing ties to Corbett and who has known Onorato since he was Allegheny County Controller and Zaborney was chief of staff to Northumberland County controller.

Of the Corbett endorsement, Zaborney said: "I think that is ridiculous. I'm not aware of Dan Onorato doing anything to help Tom Corbett either time he ran."
As to producing proof of Onorato’s support for Corbett, which Herman denied, Morganelli responded: “If Onorato was supporting me, why did he not give me at least a small contribution? He gave [Treasurer candidate Rob] McCord $10,000 who really did not need the money. Doesn’t that alone speak volumes - especially when I was lured 2 times to Pittsburgh with promises of money from Onorato and ended up with zero. It is hard to believe that that they can say they supported me with a straight face when he did absolutely nothing for me despite repeated requests until I was told to back off - but maybe he had a reason as I have said.”

Herman responded: "...Dan Onorato has helped countless Pennsylvania Democrats, including Mr. Morganelli, for whom he sponsored fundraising events and expressed public support. The idea that Dan would do anything to assist Tom Corbett's reelection campaign, much less imply his endorsement, defies common sense."
Morganelli’s account of Onorato’s actions in that race came to light after the blog Lehigh Valley Ramblings published an item Thursday stating: “ONORATO SUPPORTED CORBETT FOR AG IN 2008.”

That blog wrote that too many Democrats were endorsing Onorato in a herd mentality. Author Bernie O'Hare added: “One Democrat who refuses to bleat like the other sheep is Northampton County DA John Morganelli. You see, Onorato actually supported presumptive Republican nominee Tom Corbett last year when Morganelli was running against him for Attorney General. That's OK with John, but what irks him is that Onorato misled him.”

Morganelli circulated that blog to Capitol reporters, writing in an e-mail that he had received phone calls about it.

Asked to give more detail on the alleged disappearing fund-raisers he says Onorato promised to arrange, then left undone, Morganelli wrote in an e-mail: “Onorato promised in a face to face meeting with me that he would do a fundraiser in Pittsburgh. We met in March 2008 - I was endorsed candidate of {Democratic] state committee and no one else was running.

“He said his staff would set it up for a date and he would raise at least $25,000 and maybe more. In July,” after Morganelli was the party’s nominee, “I was told it would be July 10 at [the] Downtown club in Pittsburgh. We were in constant touch with his staff up to 2 days before event. I drove 6 hrs to Pittsburgh arrived at event and no one showed up!!

"Onorato arrived about 6:15 pm - 45 minutes late - and said there had been a mistake and that I should stay overnite and meet the next day with Ed Gratton his campaign money guy. So I did. Then they told me that I should come back in August and that they would raise all the money by then.

“I came back August 10-- another 6 [hour] trip. They said they had checks for me and that they would be delivered to my hotel - none ever showed up.

“I again left Pittsburgh with NOTHING. Then I was told that money was going to be mailed to me-- none arrived. I asked Dan if he could just make a personal campaign contribution to me since he had 6 million dollars - he gave [ultimately successful Democratic treasurer candidate Rob] McCord like $10,000. But Onorato would not release money to me. … I was disappointed but not angry. He must have had his reasons but never told me. I have donated $8000 to Jack Wagner. I think Jack is a man of his word and a man of integrity. But I really am over it and have no ill will towards Dan.”

Herman declined to respond to those comments, other than to reassert his prior comments, printed above.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems that Morganelli was unprepared to swim in the deep end of the political pool. Now he can add "rube" to his resume.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you mean he should have been prepared for Onorato's lies, I guess you're right. It's sad that the deep end of the political pool would be infested with people like that.

LOOSE CANNON said...

Please kill the link to the IRONPIGPEN.

I would like to see the link tranferred to the NOISE NATION guys, who you will find to be execeptionally policially correct.

But in the end, I don't care.

Thank you for linking all this time.

Sincerely,

Author formerly known as IRONPIGPEN
Rolf Oeler
roeler@goironpigs.com

NOTE ---- save the hate emails race-baiting losers, I won't read them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Shallow end, deep end, doesn't matter. The game is the game, and the players are all suspect, at best. Even those we like personally and/or agree with politically. They are feeders, at the trough and of their egos.

You won't find a Mother Teresa among them.

Anonymous said...

John is mad b/c he didn't get political contributions. Pure and simple. This all makes him sound really petty. If he had any concept of grace, he would never have raised this issue. Now he comes off as petty. Onorato may be a jerk in his behavior, but John could have held his dignity in the matter.

Oh well. Not like he had a future outside of Norco anyway.

Anonymous said...

Big fish in a little pond. Onorato didn't hurt him. JM hurt hinself by even running.

Anonymous said...

I do not think this is about whether it hurt Morganelli or if Corbett was endorsed. I sounds like Morganelli was invited to Pitt, promised a room full of people to talk to or maybe some contributions, but each time came up empty handed. I suspect Morganelli would have been happy with a room full of people to talk to even if they were not all supporters. Why make the offer in the first place.

Anonymous said...

We've heard JM's side of the tale. True or not, it sounds pathetic. It took a high level of political incompetence for any PA Democrat to lose a race that year. The story provides some explanation for the outcome of the race. It's no wonder he lost badly. From a statewide political standpoint, it sounds like he could screw up sleeves on a vest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me get this straight. Morganelli is incompetent because he took Onorato at his word? I see.

VJMJ said...

Chor-Bishop Seely Beggiani on Being a Priest

VJMJ said...

Chor-Bishop Seely Beggiani on Being a Priest

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above link to yet another attack on Father Alex shows just Villa as nuts and hateful. I guess giving him a forearm at the courthouse is not enough. He will be unable to continue spammin this blog with his hate now that DISQUS is installed.