Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rage Against the Machine

Would be such a shame.

The FBI today arrested two computer experts on the staff of state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, accusing them of trying to obstruct the federal investigation into the powerful Philadelphia Democrat.

A 65-page affidavit laying out the case against legislative aides Leonard P. Luchko and Mark Eister said they and unnamed others had "conspired to obstruct justice" by deleting "electronic evidence," including e-mails.

In the affavidavit, the FBI spells out in its bluntest terms yet the nature of its probe, saying it is looking into whether Fumo engaged in "exortion."

The agency said the inquiry is focused on whether Fumo "used his authority and official position to attempt to demand and obtain payments" from corporations to a South Philadelphia nonprofit.

The document does not name Fumo. Instead, it always referring to an unidentified "Senator." It is clear from the context, however, that the reference is to Fumo.

The FBI is also investigating whether Fumo "benefited both political and personally from expenditures made by the organization," a nonprofit called Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.

It added that it was probing whether the nonprofit "spent money for the senator's personal benefits and for politial activities inconsistent with the organization's limited mission and tax-exempt status."

I won't shed any tears if they get Fumo.