School Activists, Students, Dropping In on Williams Campaign’s Wealthy Backers

 

The headquarters of Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd.

The headquarters of Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd.

[ORIGINAL: 3: 50 p.m.] Well, we’ve apparently reached the stage of the mayoral campaign where theatrics will start to play a larger role.

The first sign? Parents and students affiliated with Action United — a “community organizing” group founded by former members of Acorn — said today that they’ll show up at 4:30 this afternoon to the offices of Susquehanna International Group to meet with firm’s three principals who are throwing large chunks of cash at the Tony Williams campaign. Read more »

DNC Names PA Man Director of LGBT Engagement

sean meloy pennsylvania

Pennsylvania native Sean Meloy has been hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as director of LGBT engagement. Meloy is a graduate of Penn State and former aide and campaign manager of PA U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle.

In his job as director of LGBT engagement, Meloy is tasked with assembling LGBT support for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominees and other Democratic candidates. “I’m here to work for them and with them to make sure that the party is inclusive and continually fighting for LGBT rights,” he said in an interview with the Washington Blade.

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The Incredibly Simple Way to Fix the Attorney General’s Office

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Quick poll: Who here thinks we can solve the problems that ail the state Attorney General’s office by making Pennsylvania’s political culture more like Philly’s?

Anyone? Anyone?

The question is asked because that’s precisely what G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young recommend in an op-ed making the rounds of state newspapers this week. Not in so many words, but the effect is the same: They suggest that Kathleen Kane’s troubles in office are a problem of politics — and the solution is to create a “resign to run” requirement for that office, forcing the incumbent to quit if he or she chooses to run for another post.

Which is exactly the same requirement that members of City Council face when they want to run for mayor — or any other elected office — aside from the one they hold. Now, it’s been about a decade since Councilman Rick Mariano left office in disgrace, and a little longer yet since an FBI bug was found in John Street’s office, but does anybody really want to claim that the city’s political culture has been exemplary since then? Or that “resign to run” is the reason we haven’t seen any criminal prosecutions at City Hall lately?

Anyone? Read more »

Texas “Muhammad Art Exhibit” Sponsored by Group Behind Anti-Islam SEPTA Ads

Police officers stands guard at a parking lot near the Curtis Culwell Center where a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was held Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas. The contest was put on lockdown Sunday night and attendees were being evacuated after authorities reported a shooting outside the building.

Police officers stands guard at a parking lot near the Curtis Culwell Center where a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was held Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas. The contest was put on lockdown Sunday night and attendees were being evacuated after authorities reported a shooting outside the building.

The same group that sponsored an anti-Islam ad campaign on SEPTA buses last month also sponsored the Texas “art show” where two suspects were killed Sunday after shooting a security guard. Read more »

Court Strikes Down Anti-Mumia Law

ABU JAMAL

A federal judge has struck down a new state law that attempted to keep convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and other Pennsylvania prisoners from having their voices heard by the outside world.

The law, passed in the wake of Abu-Jamal’s October commencement speech to students at Goddard College in Vermont, lets crime victims — or prosecutors — sue inmates whose behavior behind bars continues to create anguish for the victims. But a federal court says the law violates the First Amendment rights of Abu-Jamal and other prisoners.

“The fact that certain plaintiffs have been convicted of infamous or violent crimes is largely irrelevant to our First Amendment analysis. A past criminal offense does not extinguish the offender’s constitutional right to free expression,” Judge Christopher Conner wrote. “The First Amendment does not evanesce at the prison gate.” (See the full opinion below.) Read more »

Here’s the Just-Unsealed Grand Jury Report on Kathleen Kane

AP-KATHLEEN-KANE-940X540

A Montgomery County judge today released a grand jury report that recommends Attorney General Kathleen Kane face charges in the leaking of documents from an earlier grand jury investigation.

“We find that the testimony of Attorney General Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover-up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy,” the grand jury said in its presentment, dated December 19, 2014. (See the full document below.)

The grand jury recommended she face charges of perjury, false swearing, abuse of office, obstruction of the law, and contempt of court. Read more »

Kane Back in Court Today

Kathleen Kane

Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane is going back to court this today — this time to challenge a judge’s inquiry into her firing of a key staffer.

CBS Philly reports:

Judge William Carpenter is overseeing a grand jury investigation into allegations that Kathleen Kane’s office leaked secret information. He thinks she may have fired her deputy, James Barker, because of his testimony in the case.

That might violate a protective order that covers grand jury witnesses. Carpenter assembled the three-judge panel to hear whether she could be charged with “indirect contempt of court,” but Kane’s lawyers filed motions challenging the proceeding.

AP adds:

They want Carpenter to recuse himself, saying he’s biased against Kane, and they say his order barring retaliation expired before Barker was fired. In any case, Kane says Barker’s firing wasn’t retaliation.

The hearing is expected to get under way this morning.

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