At the start of the year, accusations were made that Republican Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith illegally recorded conversations dealing with CityVest. When made aware of these accusations, Republican District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis turned the information over to Democratic PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office.
On Friday, four days before Walter Griffith’s contested Primary Election he was in court for the felony charges filed by the Democratic AG.
CityVest has been plagued with problems. No one disputes that. And, being a good government advocate, it is entirely understandable that Walter Griffith would attempt to turn over every rock and expose any wrongdoing that he believed he found. He has been incredibly successful with that. Unfortunately, that also likely made him a target.
Republicans in the House of Representatives proposed a bill last year, HB 2400, that would have changed Pennsylvania’s wiretap law to allow recording of conversations if there was a belief that the subject of the recording would be talking about criminal behavior. With the corruption that has been exposed in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, a law like this might make a lot of sense.
When considering the timeline, that this information was given to Democrat Kane’s office months ago and charges were filed four days before an election, some will question the timing of Ms. Kane’s actions.
Nonetheless, the law is the law. If Walter Griffith broke it, he needs to answer for that.
That said, every citizens enjoys certain rights in this country, not the least of which is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Griffith hasn’t been proven guilty. The people of Luzerne County shouldn’t lose sight of that or the tremendous good he has done for them in the Controller’s office.