Our opinion: No smoking gun

It’s not the smoking gun some Democrats would have liked, the sort of unequivocal violation of law that would bring a political candidate, even an incumbent governor, to his knees tearfully begging forgiveness from the electorate.

Still, the revelation that Gov. Tom Corbett had included his campaign staff in meetings with his gubernatorial staff has a tinge of something disconcerting.

Here’s what happened: the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review obtained meeting records indicating that since not long after taking office, Corbett’s campaign manager and other campaign staff have been in attendance – and one assumes providing input – during the boss’s meetings with his chief of staff and others in the administration.

Is that illegal?

Probably not, but it certainly paints the governor, who made his reputation as Attorney General by tossing members of the General Assembly in prison for having taken the next step – using staff on the state payroll to do campaign chores while on the clock for the taxpayers – as disingenuous.

We weren’t shocked at the revelation.

Anyone who follows state government in Pennsylvania and watches with occasional revulsion the part political maneuvering and mendacity plays in governance has a fairly clear, yet jaded, perception of the link between the two. Of course policy decisions are made with political consequences in mind, and who better to point out those consequences than the person who runs your election campaign?

No, the inclusion of election advisors on a conference call with administration officials or even attendance at a policy meeting in the governor’s office isn’t technically a violation of the same laws Corbett used to put others in jail. Simply put, no taxpayer money changed hands to pay for the services rendered. But they are a reminder that little in government isn’t influenced by politics, and nothing in Pennsylvania government isn’t saturated by it.