Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New reports question Kane's version of "the sting"

Unnamed sources tell two newspapers sting was not targeting African-Americans or even the lawmakers caught on tape.

New reports question Kane's version of "the sting"


Here we go again.

The muddled and controversial Philadelphia sting case that caught four state lawmakers and a former traffic judge on tape taking cash and gifts was not, according to unnamed sources, all that so far has been reported.

It did not focus on the five Philly Democrats, all African-American, caught on tape by an undercover informant, did not focus only on African-Americans and was only the start of a much broader investigation.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Thursday that the informant met with more than 50 people: 32 state lawmakers, 11 lobbyists and eight Philly officials, mostly Democrats.

The newspapers say 25 were African-American, 23 were white and three Latino.

The Tribune-Review reports the broad aim of the investigation was to focus on discretionary state grants and non-profit groups, and that the lawmakers taped taking money were not intended targets.

The reports cast further doubt on state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's assertions that the sting could not go forward or be prosecuted because it selectively targeted African-Americans, was poorly run and legally flawed.

Kane's office responded to the new reports by saying she's sticking to her initial assesment.

The new reports do not inlcude the names of other lawmakers who met with the informant.

The case was first reported by the Inquirer on March 16.

Last week, Philly DA Seth Williams asked for all files, memos and emails related to it. He disagrees with Kane's view of the case and says he'll considering reviving it for prosecution.



Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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