Will Bob Casey Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal?

U.S. Senator Bob Casey,  January 2014. | AP Photo

U.S. Senator Bob Casey, January 2014. | AP Photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey may be one of the votes standing between the Obama Administration and a deal with Iran to put its nuclear program into deep-freeze.

Foreign Policy says Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is one of the likeliest “no” votes on the deal, and summarizes the case thusly:  Read more »

Pennsylvania Republicans Say They May Raise Taxes for Education

After a summer-long impasse between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislators, it appears a compromise on the Pennsylvania state budget could be in the offing.

GOP leaders said Wednesday they would be willing to grant Wolf’s biggest wish — to raise taxes and increase state funding to schools by $400 million. But, PennLive reports, they have a condition: Approval of a state pensions reform package that Wolf has already vetoed.

“The significance of this, I think, can’t be stated enough. This is a huge move,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County.

“We started these conversations with the idea that I would be willing to make some big concessions and compromises on pensions which is important to them, I need them to move into my camp on education and so they’ve done I think a pretty good job there,” Wolf told PennLive. Read more »

Planned Parenthood Targets Toomey

Planned Parenthood is running an ad attacking Sen. Pat Toomey, suggesting his vote to defund the organization could be the first step toward a costly government shutdown.

Toomey is one of four “vulnerable” senators in the 2016 election being targeted by the ads, The Hill reports.

“’First Pat Toomey voted to defund Planned Parenthood — risking healthcare for millions of women,’ the Pennsylvania ad says. ‘Now Republicans want to shut down the government — to block funding for Planned Parenthood. What would a shutdown mean for Pennsylvania?’

“The ad then shows a veteran wondering about getting benefits and a senior worrying about Social Security checks.”

Three things to know about this controversy: Read more »

Kathleen Kane Gets Ethics Complaint, Democratic Challenger

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The challenges to Attorney General Kathleen Kane continue to pile up, both on the legal and political front.

On the legal front, longtime citizen activist Gene Stilp announced today he was filing a complaint against Kane with the State Ethics Commission, alleging she is using the resources of her office to defend against criminal charges she violated grand jury secrecy laws by leaking information from a grand jury to a reporter for the Daily News.

Stilp noted that Kane’s August 12th press conference took place in the Media Center at the state capital in Harrisburg — an inappropriate use of state facilities to address a “private criminal matter,” he said. Read more »

The Weekly Brief: Who Would Replace Kathleen Kane?

Photo by the Associated Press

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

1. Lynne Abraham Wants to Be Pennsylvania’s Next Attorney General

The gist: Last week, after months of speculation, Attorney General Kathleen Kane was finally hit with perjury, official oppression, criminal conspiracy and other serious charges. A grand jury determined that she illegally leaked information to the Philadelphia Daily News in order to sabotage a political enemy. Kane is adamant that she is innocent and refuses to resign for now, but Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on Kane to step down. If she quits, who would take her place? Former Philadelphia District Attorney and mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham is reportedly interested in the gig, according to PoliticsPA. Read more »

Will Pa. Forsake the Democrats in 2016?

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Democrats love Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton won her 2008 primary here. The party is holding its 2016 presidential convention here. We haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. The next election is going to be a lovefest between the Keystone State and Dems, right?

Perhaps not. Political analysts are saying that Pennsylvania, which usually comes out blue in presidential elections, could in fact turn out to be a “toss-up” state in 2016.

PoliticsPA reports that the Cook Political Report, which it calls “one of the most respected political prognosticators in the country,” has released its latest electoral college scorecard for the 2016 presidential election. And Pennsylvania, which has long been in Cook’s “Lean Democratic” column is now listed as one of nine states that could go either way.

The state last voted for a Republican when George H.W. Bush — the older Bush — first ran for president. Is Pennsylvania really a state again?

Maybe.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt Pennsylvania will be a competitive state,” said Terry Madonna, the director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall University, said of Pennsylvania’s new status.  Read more »

Kane Hints at Conspiracy in No-Questions Press Conference

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Attorney General Kathleen Kane called on a Pennsylvania judge to release the full trove of documents from the so-called “Porngate” scandal, saying complete disclosure of those files was essential to her defense on charges she leaked secret grand jury material.

“I do that not as part of some vendetta, but to tell the whole story, the story that is critical to my defense against these charges,” she said Wednesday.

Kane made the call as part of a short news conference (watch below) in which she took no questions — and in fact, presented no real defense of herself against the charges, instead suggesting that a cabal of “boys club” officials were trying to silence her and prevent the emergence of emails that she said were pornographic, racially insensitive and religiously bigoted.

“I’m sure, at this moment, as I stand under charges … these individuals believe they’re on the precipice of their ultimate goal” to end the possibility of being exposed in the scandal, Kane said. Read more »

No, Kathleen Kane Scandal Is Not a “Blow to Women”

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Let’s get one thing straight very quickly: Kathleen Kane‘s indictment on charges she leaked secret grand jury materials is a shame, an embarrassment to a state that has no shortage of reasons to be embarrassed, and just plain bad.

But none of that has anything to do with her gender.

Obvious, right? But this is Pennsylvania, where Kane is just one of two women we’ve ever elected to statewide office and where no women are currently in Congress, which means that females who can win a few votes — bizarrely in 2015 — are pioneers in their field, and thus judged not on their own performances, but on how well they represent their underrepresented group.

Which in means we end up with stories where Sen. Pat Vance, a Republican woman with 40 years of electoral politics under her belt, laments about Kane: “I felt very badly when she was charged, even though we’re not in the same political party, because it’s such a blow to women.”

Understandable. And wrong. Read more »

Rendell to Chair McGinty Senate Campaign

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Not that Joe Sestak needed additional clues he is not the favored candidate of the Democratic Party establishment in Pennsylvania, but: Former Gov. Ed Rendell just signed on to chair Katie McGinty‘s campaign for U.S. Senate.

McGinty was Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell Administration.

“I am glad that Katie McGinty answered the calls from across Pennsylvania for her to enter the race for U.S. Senate,” Rendell said in a statement released by her campaign. “I encouraged Katie to run because she’s a problem solver who knows how to get things done. Middle class Pennsylvanians will have a Senator who will fight for good schools, good jobs, and affordable health care in Katie McGinty.” Read more »

Report: Lynne Abraham Interested in A.G. Job

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Kathleen Kane, left. Lynne Abraham, Right.

Former Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham is reportedly interested in replacing Attorney General Kathleen Kane if Kane is forced to give up her seat while she faces criminal charges for leaking grand jury material.

“According to a source with knowledge of the situation,” PoliticsPA reports, “Abraham believes she can be an effective placeholder until Jan. 2017. Several of the people she worked with in Philly are now in the AG’s office and she briefly considered a run back in 2012. PoliticsPA has also learned that Abraham has secured the commitment of Congressman, and Philadelphia Democratic Party Chair, Bob Brady.

Abraham was not immediately available to comment, nor was a spokesperson for Brady.

Read more »

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