Activist Brings “Private” Charges Against Lawmakers in Sting

Gene Stilp carries on where Kathleen Kane wouldn’t. PennLive reports:

Self-styled political activist Gene Stilp filed a private criminal complaint Tuesday against three sitting state lawmakers implicated in an aborted public corruption investigation.

Stilp has alleged misdemeanor violations of the state Ethics Act by Reps. Ronald Waters, Vanessa Lowery Brown, and Michelle Brownlee.

According to investigative files that have been shared with PennLive, all three Philadelphia Democrats were taped accepting cash gifts from a government informant posing as a lobbyist for the state Attorney General’s office from late 2010 through early 2012.

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No Surprise: Tom Wolf Is Biggest Spender in Gov’s Race

PennLive reports: “York County businessman Tom Wolf, who has largely self-funded his campaign in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, has spent more money than all of his competitors together. His spending – which includes $4.4 million in advertising – has propelled Wolf to the front of the race, making him, for the moment, the candidate to beat. Wolf’s rivals – U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz ($1 million spent); state Treasurer Rob McCord ($2.9m spent); and Katie McGinity ($1.2m spent), have moved to counter Wolf’s early lead. All three have begun airing television ads of their own, which could swing voters away from Wolf.”

Poll: Pennsylvanians Don’t Trust State Government

PennLive reports: “ Buffeted by scandal, fewer than half of Pennsylvanians (46 percent) say they have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in their state government, according to a new Gallup poll. But, hey, it could be worse — you could live in Illinois. Just 28 percent of residents in theLand of Lincoln say they trust the characters in Springfield to do the right thing. Gallup polled 600 residents in all 50 states last year, coming up with a poll that had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.”

Well, that would explain the new state flag:

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Let’s Teach Philly Kids to Use Guns — Properly

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Over the weekend, a 2-year-old boy in West Philadelphia shot and killed his 11-year-old sister. The gun —a .357 Magnum — had been stored on top of a fridge; according to reports it was then moved to a master bedroom in the family home. One way or another, it ended up in the toddler’s hands. He fired it, of course. Now both of their lives are destroyed.

It’s a stupid, senseless tragedy. It never should’ve happened. We can all agree on this, right?

So I want to offer a proposal I believe might well reduce the number of gun deaths in Philadelphia. It’s also a provocative proposal. I suspect our gun debate is too polarized for it to become reality, at least for now. But I suspect it would reduce the number of stupid accidents we see — and, by teaching respect for the deadly power of firearms, might even lead to better behavior overall among this city’s criminal elements.

This proposal: Every junior-high student in Philadelphia public schools should take a gun-safety class.

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Tom Wolf Is the Future of Politics

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We’re just a few weeks out from the Democratic primary election in Pennsylvania, and two should-be contradictory facts appear to be completely true:

• Barring a disaster, Tom Wolf will win the Democratic nomination for governor, and win big. A new poll this week showed him leading the pack with 33 percent support — which doesn’t sound like much until you realize the closest competition commands just 7 percent support.

• We still don’t really know that much about what kind of candidate he is.

Oh, sure, we know he drives a Jeep. We know he’s run the family business, and that the business shares profits with employees. And we know those things because Wolf has used his personal fortune to put commercials on TV a lot earlier — and certainly more often — than his competitors. But aside from TV time, can you say what differentiates Wolf from his competitors?

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Wolf Continues to Lead Democrats Running for Governor

Can anybody catch Tom Wolf in the Democratic primary for governor? A new poll suggests it will be difficult: “Wolf, a former state revenue secretary, drew 33 percent support in the poll, outpacing previous frontrunner U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Montgomery County, who earned 7 percent. Some 6 percent favored state Treasurer Rob McCord, and another 4 percent backed former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty. Wolf shot to the front of the field last month after he began peppering state televisions with campaign ads, paid for in part by $10 million of his own funds.” (PennLive)

PA Senate May Ban Cash Gifts, Too

First the House, now the Senate: “Soon, there’s a chance none of Pennsylvania’s lawmakers will be able to accept cash gifts. On the heels of the House Bipartisan Management Committee issuing a new rule Wednesday banning members from accepting cash gifts, the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Philadelphia, said that chamber could take up a similar rule next week. The reforms come in the wake of a scandal in which four members of the Philadelphia House delegation were accused of accepting cash in a since-abandoned sting operation.” (PennLive)

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