In Abandoned Sting Operation, Liquor Privatization Was Bait

Here’s a question about the abandoned sting that has Kathleen Kane in so much trouble these days: How close did it come to criminalizing normal political activity?

It’s a question that first started to lurk in our minds when the story first broke, with lurid tales of Democrats being given cash and gifts to vote against Voter ID laws they never, ever would’ve supported anyway. And the question grows stronger with today’s news from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review* that the confidential informant in the case often posed as a … proponent of liquor privatization.

* Watch out Inky! The Trib is hot on your heels on this story!

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Philly.com’s Frightening Finance Guru

dave-ramsey

There’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of Dave Ramsey, and the reason should be familiar: In an era when our Red State-Blue State bifurcation means we can’t agree about anything, we don’t even have pop culture in common anymore. So maybe the easiest way to introduce Ramsey is explain that he’s the finance guru to the Duck Dynasty set, an evangelical version of Suze Orman.

He is also Philly.com’s “business columnist” — though really, more of a personal finance advice columnist.

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Report: Abandoned Sting Started With Diverse Targets

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she abandoned the sting operation that caught Philly Democrats taking cash on tape, in part, because the investigation settled on an almost exclusively African-American traget list, giving the project an appearance of “racial profiling” that would be fatal if the case made it to a jury.

But a new report suggests the scope of the investigation was initially much broader. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that confidential informant Tyron Ali “dealt with 25 black officials, 23 Caucasians and three Latinos, said the sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Of the 51 people with whom Ali dealt, there were 27 House members, five senators, 11 lobbyists and eight Philadelphia city officials. The group included 39 Democrats, seven Republicans and five for whom party affiliation was not available.”

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State LGBT Groups Get Behind Philly Lt. Governor Candidate Mike Stack

mike stack lt gov

A host of state LGBT organizations this week have endorsed Philadelphia State Senator Mike Stack‘s run for Lieutenant Governor. Among them is Philly’s Liberty City Democrats (LCDC), Pittsburgh’s Steel City Stonewall Democrats, and the Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Philadelphia (GSPC), which released a statement saying Stack, “has a strong organization, strong ties to our community, and has been instrumental to moving bits of progressive legislation through a government largely controlled by people who demonize our community.”

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Tom Corbett Wants No Blame for Kathleen Kane’s Abandoned Sting

Tom Corbett has enough problems of his own. He doesn’t need to get on board Kathleen Kane’s sinking ship.

Gov. Corbett was, of course, one of Kane’s predecessors as attorney general. In fact, the sting operation that caught Philly Democrats taking cash payments started on his watch. Kane has suggested she was only the latest in a series of officials not to prosecute a bungled case.

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Corbett Primary Challenger to Stay on Ballot

PennLive reports: “Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt has ordered that conservative insurgent-turned-gubernatorial candidate Robert Guzzardi stays on the ballot in the May 20 Republican primary. Guzzardi, from Montgomery County, is not seen as a major threat to Corbett. But he promises to run a noisy campaign that could embarrass Corbett from the right at a time when the incumbent would love nothing more than to be consolidating his GOP support.”

What if the Civil War Had a Birthday and Nobody Came?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Three years ago, Don Dodson planned to make a killing selling the Civil War artifacts he and his metal detector have uncovered near his hometown of Ringgold, Georgia. In Jersey City, New Jersey, Jamie Delson designed and packaged up special sets of toy soldiers from famous Civil War battles that he planned to sell. Louis Varnell opened a military memorabilia store near Chickamauga, the site of a bloody 1863 battle. They—and a lot of historians, reenactors, hoteliers, restaurateurs and fellow businessmen—were counting on the sesquicentennial of the Civil War to stir up a flood of action commemorating what was, arguably, the most cataclysmic event in American history.

Today, according to a story last week in the Wall Street Journal, the relics sit unsold. So do the toy soldiers. And Varnell is shipping more World War II collectibles than Civil War stuff. Three-quarters of the way through the four-year commemoration of the war that pitted brother against brother, the general consensus is, nobody gives a damn. “If it’s a celebration,” Delson told the Journal, “it’s a celebration that the public is either not aware of or not interested in.”

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The Abandoned Sting Case Might Be Bigger Than You Thought

A judge on Thursday agreed to a request from several Pennsylvania media organizations to unseal investigative records from the abandoned sting that had caught five Philadelphia Democrats taking cash from a confidential informant — and perhaps widened the scandal to an even broader group of politicos than was previously known.

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