Vince Fumo's buddies apparently aren't holding any grudges against Pat Meehan, the former U.S. attorney who indicted the state senator in 2007 on federal corruption charges.
As Fumo serves a 55-month prison sentence in Kentucky on 137 counts of fraud, tax offenses and obstruction of justice, some big-name Philadelphia Democrats are pumping money into Meehan's congressional campaign.
Meehan, a Republican, will likely face Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz in November to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in the Delaware County-based 7th Congressional District.
Among the Fumo allies who have contributed to Meehan are Martin Weinberg, a former Democratic mayoral candidate, and Thomas Leonard, a Democratic fundraiser and former city controller.
Weinberg, chairman of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, and Leonard, a partner at the law firm, each contributed $400 to Meehan's campaign in December; the firm has given Meehan a total of $2,400. Both men had written letters to U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter, requesting a light sentence for Fumo, which he got.
Meehan has also received $5,000 from Alerted Democratic Majority, a Philadelphia-based political-action committee run by Democratic fundraiser William Batoff.
Joseph Jacovini, chairman of Dilworth Paxson, the Philly law firm that paid Fumo up to $1 million a year to bring in business, has contributed $2,000 to Meehan. But Jacovini, in the time-honored tradition of playing both sides of the fence, also gave Lentz $500.
None of the donors returned phone calls or e-mails yesterday requesting comment.
Meehan spokesman Pete Peterson said that he was not surprised by the contributions. Meehan was an associate at Dilworth Paxson in the 1980s, and he has known Batoff and Weinberg for years, Peterson said.
"Pat's highly respected in the Philadelphia-area legal community," said Delaware County GOP Chairman Andrew Reilly. "Whether you agree with him on the issues or not, I think everyone agrees that he's a person of integrity."
Lentz campaign manager Vincent Rongione had a different take on the contributions: "Pat Meehan is a career politician who has spent the last 30 years doing and saying anything that would win him favor with the political establishment."
The Meehan campaign was busy putting out a minor brushfire yesterday after discovering that an Upper Darby political operative may have submitted four phony signatures on Meehan's nominating petitions. The questionable petitions were turned over to District Attorney G. Michael Green.
Meehan submitted 3,627 signatures Tuesday - more than three times the 1,000 required - so he is not in danger of getting kicked off the primary ballot.