Attorney General Tom Corbett today told reporters that an ongoing state grand jury investigation into political corruption in Harrisburg would produce no additional charges until after the Nov 4 election.
Earlier, Mr. Corbett had stated that he would suspend any further charges between Oct. 1 and the Nov. 4 election to avoid influencing the outcome of any races. All state House and a number of state Senate seats are up for election this year and the grand jury is known to be investigating several of them.
Grand jurors are scheduled to sit one more week between now and Mr. Corbett's self-imposed Oct. 1 deadline. There is no requirement under state law to withhold criminal charges within a month of a general election, but Mr. Corbett brought the practice with him after serving as United States Attorney in Pittsburgh.
"I know this investigation very well. I know that my office cannot present the grand jury, in that one week, all of the testimony and other evidence that will be necessary to complete the next phase of the investigation," Mr. Corbett told a luncheon meeting of The Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg today.
Currently, sources close to the probe have said that Mr. Corbett's office is focusing on potential wrongdoing surrounding a $1.8 million computer contract for the House Republican caucus as well as potential obstruction charges against Democratic caucus employees in connection with the destruction of records sought in a probe into taxpayer funded bonuses given for political work.
To date, the grand jury has issued a presentments accusing a dozen current and former Democratic legislators or caucus employees of multiple counts of theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy. Accused include former House Minority Whip Michael Veon, D-Beaver, and current Hstate Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Beaver.
The investigation has brought charges of partisanship against Mr. Corbett, a Republican, seeking reelection this year because all of those charged to date have been Democrats.
"Those accusations are wrong," Mr. Corbett told the Press Club, "but I accept the fact that they are inevitable -- especially in an election year."