Sunday, November 29, 2015

Will Senate let Harrisburg prosecutor bill die?

'Only in very special cases,' says Greenleaf, of special investigation bill

Will Senate let Harrisburg prosecutor bill die?


Re the Pennsylvania State Senate proposal to appoint a Special Prosecutor to review Harrisburg's ruinously bloated debt and how it got that way:

Only in "very special cases" should legislators set up independent invesigators to review criminal charges that aren't being addressed by federal or state prosecutors, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Bucks, told me.

Greenleaf heads the Senate Judiciary Committee where the special-prosecutor proposal by Sen. Mike Fulmer (R-Lebanon) and a bipartisan group of colleagues is currently awaiting further action (or oblivion). More on Folmer's proposals in my column in today's Philadelphia Inquirer and in a previous item I posted here.

Can Greenleaf think of any wrongdoing in his long Harrisburg career where a special prosecutor would have been appropriate? Not offhand, he said.

Greenleaf hasn't read the bill yet. Will he let it die? "I have to take a look at it," he told me. But "we have a big agenda."

The other bills (restricting municipal investments in interest-rate swaps, criminalizing certain kinds of municipal finance fraud, etc.) aren't before Greenleaf's committee. I asked if towns in his mostly affluent district have felt ripped off by swaps losses, as happened in Bethlehem, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and other Pa. cities. Not that he knows of, he told me.

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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