Republican Jumps Into AG’s Race

State Sen. John Rafferty

The first official challenger to Attorney General Kathleen Kane has emerged.

State Senator John Rafferty is expected to announce his candidacy this week. The Republican has represented parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties in Harrisburg since 2003. Read more »

Pat Toomey Sent Us a Box of Chocolates

Toomey Candy

Turns out, Sen. Pat Toomey is way more than a Hershey’s guy.

Earlier this month, we told you that Toomey is keeper of the Senate’s traditional “candy desk” — and that one of his predecessors in keeping the chamber’s sweet tooth sated during interminable debates was perpetual presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and that big home-state suppliers like Hershey’s and Just Born were largely responsible for keeping Toomey supplied with sweets.

Cut to this morning, when we arrived at work to find a medium-sized box on our desk. The return address was Toomey’s office. There was no note inside — just lots and lots of candy. All of it, as far as we can tell, from Pennsylvania. (See the pic above.) Read more »

Why The Latest Liquor Privatization Bill Might Actually Pass

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Yes, we’ve heard a million times before that the Pennsylvania Legislature is mulling a liquor privatization bill. A million times before, it’s gone nowhere. So why highlight the latest bill from Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican?

Answer: Precisely because it’s originating in the Senate, where previous House attempts at privatization have long gone to die. Read more »

Court: Wolf Wrong to Fire Open Records Chief

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Gov. Tom Wolf isn’t having much luck on the personnel front this week.

Two days after the Pennsylvania Senate rejected his nomination to lead the State Police, a Commonwealth Court panel on Wednesday ruled Wolf was wrong to fire the state’s new open records chief right after he took office earlier this year. The court ordered Erik Arneson, who had been appointed to the post by then-Gov. Tom Corbett shortly before Corbett left office, be reinstated to the job, complete with back pay for time missed during the legal battle.

“We find clear legislative intent that the Executive Director of OOR, an independent body, is insulated from the Governor’s power to remove appointees at will,” the court said in its ruling. (See full ruling below.) Read more »

Another Sting Target Pleads Guilty

Michelle Brownlee

Michelle Brownlee has become the latest Philadelphia Democrat to plead guilty to corruption charges arising from the investigation abandoned by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and revived by Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams. Read more »

Christie Accused of Revealing Grand Jury Info

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N.J. Chris Christie is still mulling a presidential run, but he’s still plagued by fallout from the Bridgegate scandal. The latest problem? An accusation he violated grand jury secrecy rules.

The accusation comes from David Wildstein, a central figure in the Bridgegate scandal. The New York Times reports: “Mr. Wildstein’s statement, in a civil case separate from the federal prosecution in the bridge case, offers the first insider confirmation of a long-rumored tale of New Jersey political corruption, and places Mr. Christie at the center of it. It also portrays the governor, a former United States attorney, casually revealing information about a grand jury proceeding he had overseen, which violates federal law.” Read more »

Gov. Tom Wolf Recalls State Police Nominee Marcus Brown

Marcus Brown (left); Tom Wolf (right, photo by Jeff Fusco).

Marcus Brown (left); Tom Wolf (right, photo by Jeff Fusco).

Gov. Tom Wolf today recalled the nomination of Marcus Brown to lead the Pennsylvania State Police, but said Brown would stay in the post as acting commissioner — signaling, perhaps, that he’d wait and try to have Brown confirmed to the post at a later date.

“I continue to have full faith in Col. Brown’s ability to lead the State Police, and he will remain as acting commissioner,” Wolf said in a press release. Read more »

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