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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, September 10, 2007

Morganelli Takes Responsibility For EMail Gaffe

Someone in John Morganelli's attorney general campaign camp has sent an anonymous email, smearing potential rival Chris Casey. This email account was originally set up, years ago, for use by John's son. So Brett Lieberman at Pennsyltucky Politics disputes John's claim that this bulk email is "the sleazy work of an overzealous campaign volunteer, who was now using the account." He labels this expanation "an excuse that seems to defy logic and one we hope he would never use in a courtroom."

I believed this was the work of campaign consultant Tom Severson, who loves to hurl anonymous smears. In May, Severson sent vicious anonymous mailings that attacked a magisterial candidate. Someone also suggested Lamont McClure, a Morganelli backer who managed John's unsuccessful 2000 campaign. McClure, in his May campaign for county council, was called McMud after mailing attack ads that brought up his opponent's dead brother.

But John Morganelli, who knows the facts a little better than the rest of us, has set me straight. He specifically denies that his son, Severson or McClure are involved. Let him tell you in his own words.


I would appreciate it if you would rewrite your blog with my corrected information. Severson (and McClure) know nothing about all of this.

This email address was purchased many, many years ago and is one of 5 email addresses we have in our family. It was used by my oldest son UNTIL 2001 when he went to school at Villanova, at which time he began to use his Villanova email address. The address was dormant for 6 years (2001-2007) and accumulated hundreds and hundreds of spam mail. Recently, we cleaned it up and it was made available for use by the campaign to use as another email address for my e mail campaign to various email lists. Since my son did not use it for 6 years, rather than get a new one, we just decided to use this one. Unfortunately, a person sent emails that were misleading in terms of their origin and content. Because it was my son who used this 6 years ago as his email address, people thought it was my son. It was NOT my son. My son had no access to the state dem committee lists nor would he would have any of the information about the candidates' positions on the issues that were in the emails. He doesnt follow politics and has never been involved in any of my campaigns including this one except to drive me to places occasionally.

The press account tried to suggest more recent use of the address by my son because the call letters- IBX21 are used by him on his facebook account and other such accounts used by hs and college students. However, the facebook account and other such websites that my son used do NOT involve the email account at AOL. The screen name IBX21 is NOT an email account-- When my son stopped using the AOL account 6 years ago and changed all his outgoing and incoming mail to his Villanova.edu account, he retained the call letters IBX21 on facebook and other such sites like AIM. This is used ONLY as a screen name for instant messaging-- the 2 are NOT related. The press account attempted to imply that since he uses the screen name that means he is using the AOL account. He has not and is not.

Severson is NOT involved with this stuff. He does direct old fashioned mail. MCClure is not involved with this at all. I take responsibility for this and have said so. I need more control overbulk email operations. I have now decided that we will use ONLY one email address-- this is my personal one and I ALWAYS identify myself. I have personally communicated my regrets and apology to Chris Casey, Jim Eisenhower and members of the state committee and hope they were not in any way inconvenienced. As a final thought, after 2 errant emails in my campaign in a short time, I may resort to only the good ole US post office where I actually sign my name to mail. Thank you, Bernie for always being fair to me -- but I want to make sure others who really had nothing to do with this are not blamed.
Evening Update: The Morning Call's John Micek tells us John Morganelli has done more than apologize. He has fired those responsible for the snarky email. "Morganelli did not name those responsible, but he did say they're no longer with his campaign."


PA progressive said...

Do I believe this? Sure. I also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I understand what you're saying. I've known John for many years. He has always been open and accessible. Being dishonest about this would be totally inconsistent with everything I know about him.

Although I'd frankly love to lay this little gaffe on Severson's or McClure's lap, and already tried to do so, I accept John's explanation. He has always been honest with me, even when it has hurt him.

In this case, the best thing for him to have done would be to ignore my rant. He could let his campaign managers take the heat. But he has instead come to their defense. That tells me something.

It also forces me to decide whether I believe what he is saying. Because I know him as honest to a fault, I'll accept his statement.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Bernie, Bernie

For someone who follows politics, you sure can be naive at times.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, That's a step up from what I'm usually called.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - c'mon! If it were not his son or these others that you suggest, then who? I mean, he needs to make it public who this person was so that we can ensure, should he actually win the AG race, that the person responsible for this unethical behavior does not make their way into his administration. There is no other way to trust Morganelli than for him to come completely clean.

Remember, Karl Rove played these dirty tricks starting back in Texas and no one stopped him then. And look how far he made it. We cannot afford to allow someone to go unpunished for this behavior.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:49,

You're right. I'll ask John to identify the person responsible and ask if that person has been purged.

Chris Casey said...

I've known John Morganelli to be honest in the few conversations I have had with him. I see no reason to NOT believe his mea culpa. That he stepped forward and didn't let others take the heat is admirable. He didn't take the easy way out, he took the correct one, even though it was more difficult and a painful trip. That shows some character.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, I agree. But as Anon 1:49 observes, "he needs to make it public who this person was so that we can ensure, should he actually win the AG race, that the person responsible for this unethical behavior does not make their way into his administration."

I believe John, but he should take this step to allay any lingering doubts.

Chris said...

Mr. Casey
Your post was commendable. John Morganelli is a good man and an excellent DA soon to be Attorney General. As a Republican, I look forward to a great race between you two gemtleman. Simply avoid the questions of Mr. O'Hare

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, God must have created too many Chrises. The Chris Casey you just commended is Chris Casey the blogger, not Chris Casey the AG hopeful.

And avoiding questions don't make them go away.

Larry Kisslinger said...

I know DA Morganelli for decades and he knows me very well! My advice for John is to rid himself of "any" relationship whatsoever with sleazeball's of the highest order, boss long and jackass severson sooner rather than later. I have been disappointed with John ever since I've known he has had anything to do with those two nitwits. DA John does not need my help to be successful. He and his friends always helped me to gain public office and I always greatly appreciated his and others help!
John, please ditch these two assholes and beg Mayor Callahan to "not" re-appoint boss long to your and my Bethlehem Housing Authority coming up this November! If you will do so, I'll send a modest donation to your Atty General campaign and you know I send little money to candidates since I have very little to contribute. Callahan is way too young to be Mayor if he considers re-appointing boss long, is my opinion. You're old enough to know better and can advise Callahan to appoint a human being to BHA.
lastly, I have, as you should have, only one tiny email address to avoid confusion as to who is doing what, how, when with my good name. you should do the same! best to you always, larry@kisslinger.com

Chris Casey said...

Bernie, it never occured to me that anyone would think I was THE Chris Casey. I apologize to anyone who would ever mistake us, but I don't think Attorney Chris Casey has a blog, or as outspoken as I am concerning ethics in government. Though I do find it kinda funny!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, and that other Casey is a lot more ugly than you, too. But it looks like you were unable to win the third Chris' vote. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Anonymous said...

John M. is the cleanest most ethical and nicest guy in poitics!

Anonymous said...

what a bunch of crap this all is. its like little kids playing doctor. and you want to be recognized as ligitimate press. what a joke.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This story first appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News. After that, it was blogged all over the place, including here, Keystone Politics, Pennsyltucky Politics and Above Average Jane. It's a legitimate news story for obvious reasons.

JM has denied the involvement of his main campaign folks or his son, and I accept his statement. But, for those who remain suspicious, it probably would be a good idea for him to identify the culprit and fire him or her. That way voters know their AG will not tolerate this kind of misleading behavior.

And incidentally, I don't want to be legitimate press. I want to be a lumberjack.

Anonymous said...

the John Morganelli i know is a HONEST AND STAND UP GUY.the onr thing he doesn't lack is integrity

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:31,

I agree completely. You and I both know him. But most voters don't. That's why it's probably a good idea for him to ID the culprit behind these anonymous smears and fire him or her. It should be rather easy. Every email has an IP, and all JM need do is compare the IP on the email to the IPs from other emails from the people who had access to that email account. It's not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

I believe his explanation because it's consistent with the ineptitude John has displayed in each previous statewide effort.

Anonymous said...

What all this tells me is that Morganelli knows that he can't beat Casey. Morganelli is afraid of him. Casey has the name and the prosecutorial experience to go with it. What areas can Morganelli possibly carry outside of the Lehigh Valley (if that). As we speak state committee people are running away from him in droves because of this email caper. This juvenile attempt at intimidation has blown up right in Morganelli's face.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I don't know where you're from, but it's not the LV. He is very popular and well-known here.

His stance on illegal immigration has made him a darling of the conservatives. At the same time, he stands up for individual rights. On his own motion, he dismissed a trespassing charge against a war protestor who was on a public sidewalk outside a local post office. He also withdrew charges against a curmudgeon who insisted on flying his flag upside down, enraging a local cop.

He very nearly captured the nomination in his last stab at AG.

Whether he wins depends on one thing - money. He needs a lot, and I don't know if he can get it.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, last time he ran for AG he failed to win in Lehigh and Northampton county. Maybe because LV folks are afraid to lose him or because with JM as DA we can keep JM Jr. out of jail.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I am from outside the Lehigh Valley but what does that have to do with anything. I stated that Morganelli won't carry any areas outside the LV. That means I believe he would and should carry his home area. I added "if that" because I believe that if Morganelli does not find the truth and come clean on this email scandel and his immediate dirty attacks on his opponents that he probably won't even carry his home area. I understand you are his friend but I have been reading your blog for too long so I know that conduct like Morganelli has exhibited in the email cover up is not typically looked favorably upon by you. Please tell me if I am wrong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:47,

No, you are right. This is not my only post on the topic.

A few days after this post, I posted another blog, asking John to name who is responsible.

I am his friend, but felt and still feel he should do this. I know he's a fair man, but think he should open up so that those who don't know him don't get the wrong idea. You and I are actually on the same page.

I've seen him operate as DA for years. His door is open to everyone. He pushes issues, but never gets personal. I suspect he'll be answering a few more questions about this down the road.