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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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 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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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.”
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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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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The abandoned sting case — and it’s going to be with us awhile, now, clearly, so let’s come up with a clever name for it — just took a delightful turn: Attorney General Kathleen Kane basically just dared District Attorney Seth Williams, one of her loudest critics in the matter, to prosecute the case if he thinks it’s so great.
We have video:
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ABC27 in Harrisburg reports that Republicans are increasingly joining Democrats in calling for a tax on drilling in the Marcellus shale.
But Wednesday, a handful of House and Senate Republicans, mostly from the Philadelphia area, joined the chorus.
“There’s a theory out there that we shouldn’t be taxing this industry,” said DiGirolamo - (R) Bucks. “They pay this tax in every other state that they operate. This is a price of them doing business.”
Representative Tom Murt – (R) Montgomery, Philadelphia – says the state is facing a huge budget deficit and will need to find revenue. He thinks Marcellus drillers are the answer.
“The industry is doing very, very well.” Murt said. “I think there might be a collective belief on the part of many of my colleagues that perhaps the industry is not paying its fair share.”
The tax issue should loom large in fall’s general election campaign for governor.
Lehigh Valley Live reports: “Two Northampton County elementary schools made the grade today with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. Corbett visited the Wilson Area School District to present Williams Township and Wilson Borough elementary schools with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics.”
He reportedly did not flee before being confronted with students or their parents. That only happens in Philly.
(OK, we’ll move on from that joke now.)