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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mr. Baseball: Morganelli's $280,000 Donor

He's running unopposed, but his campaign coffers are bulging with $178,317.54, according to the campaign finance report he filed last week. In the first few months of this year, he's already raised $57,420, more than most of us earn in a year.

I'm speaking, of course, about Northampton County DA John Morganelli. Defense lawyers throughout the Lehigh Valley have dutifully lined up to pay fealty with contributions ranging somewhere between $250 and $500. The more prominent the defense lawyer, the more money.

In addition to accepting contributions from defense lawyers, Morganelli has taken $26,000 from an alphabet soup of unions in the first few months of this year. It is these very unions who usually tip him off about those dreaded illegal aliens working at pallet companies and construction sites.

But Morganelli's biggest contributor, by far, is a person who has likely never visited Northampton County. He's Baltimore lawyer Peter G. Angelos, whom you can see with Fidel when the O's played Cuban All-Stars ten years ago. Known as Mr. Baseball, Angelos has pretty much destroyed the Orioles. But his control over Maryland's legislature is so legendary that his measures are simply called "Angelos bills." He's a heavy campaign contributor in Maryland, but is spreading his tentacles into Pennsylvania, too.

In the first few months of this year, he's already given Morganelli $10,000. Last year, Morganelli was able to dine out quite a bit and buy DA suits because Angelos gave him $20,000.

But that's peanuts.

According to state campaign finance records, Angelos has given Morganelli a whopping $250,200 since 2004. All told, we're talking about $280,200.

That's a lot of baseballs.

So what's in it for him? Obviously, Angelos wanted a friendly Attorney General. But what is the faucet still open and pouring money, to the tune of $30,000 into Morganelli coffers?

It might be a clearing house. Angelos might be pouring money into Morganelli, which will then be given to Democratic County Council candidates in this year's election.

Angelos employee Lamont McClure happens to be one of those Northampton County Council candidates. And as it happens, Morganelli has already poured $1,000 into his coffers. McClure's wife, incidentally, happens to work for Morganelli as an Assistant DA.

This money might also be a "thank you" gift. In past years, Morganelli was never troubled by the dual office question, even when it involved Angle. But that suddenly changed last year, and right after McClure told Angle, "You're going down."

Morganelli, aided by Judge Franciosa, forced Angle to resign his school board seat and persuaded the Supreme Court that Angle's appeal was moot.

So that $30,000 might be Angelos' way of saying thanks.

I doubt Angelos knows or cares about any of the issues facing Northampton County. But these guys recognize power, and has likely identified Morganelli as one person who can help him wield it.


Anonymous said...

So who's YOUR better candidate Bernie!

Anonymous said...

And not a word about the size and origin of Dean Browning's war chest. Does he really need $100,000 to run for county commissioner? Nine mailings and no mention of his championing a breathtaking 16% tax increase.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, he needs every penny he is spending, and it is not $280k from one person. There are four candidates actively running against him, as well as a radio announcer, and the only way Browning can get his message out is via money.

Anonymous said...

Can you post who Abe Atiyah donated to, and the amounts? I have a sneaking suspicion the names will go something like Stoffa, Angle...etc

Bernie O'Hare said...

Very little money to Angle. No money to Stoffa. Over $50k to Morganelli, and that was a four years ago.


Anonymous said...

Nine glossy mailers and not one touting his deciding vote to raise taxes 16% in this economy. Dean shot himself in the foot. He should be made to pay for it with his job. He would make an excellent Democrat, which is why you're campaigning for him. He's being dishonest and so are you. I'd vote for anyone but Browning. A lot of others are going to do the same.

Anonymous said...

I give bernie credit, when he gets his marching orders to muddy someone up he does an excelent job of it. Kudos


Anonymous said...

morganelli as ag? bawhahahaha! one must be taller than 54" to ride the big rides in harrisburg. bawhahahahahaha!