Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Spies Like Vince

Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but removing Vince Fumo from our local political scene would be a blessing to the city and sate.

It reads like pulp fiction: a powerful political boss spying on his enemies, ex-lovers and even his own family.

And you paid for it.

From his state Senate discretionary fund, Vincent J. Fumo paid a private investigator more than $215,000 to dig up dirt on Ed Rendell, then a candidate for governor; union leader John Dougherty; and an ex-wife and former girlfriends, the federal government alleges.

The tale of Fumo's alleged five-year spying operation is one of the most surprising portions in the 267-page indictment handed up yesterday by a grand jury.

"Taxpayers are paying for a state senator to hire a former police inspector to follow around ex-girlfriends," said U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan. "To me, that's scary."

Fumo never addressed the spying allegations when he rose on the Senate floor Monday to declare his innocence.