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Philly DA Blows the Whistle on Pennsylvania’s State AG
National Review ^ | 3-23-2014 | John Fund

Posted on 03/23/2014 6:33:18 PM PDT by smoothsailing

MARCH 23, 2014 6:45 PM

Philly DA Blows the Whistle on Pennsylvania’s State AG

Why did the AG drop a case that exposed Democratic corruption?

By John Fund


Philadelphia DA Seth Williams (left) has slammed Pa. AG Kathleen Kane

.

Prosecutors almost never go to war against each other. But in Pennsylvania, Democratic attorney general Kathleen Kane is being brutally criticized by Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney and a fellow Democrat. Williams is upset that last year one of Kane’s first acts in office was to decline to prosecute four Philadelphia state legislators and other government officials. In a sting operation, all had been caught accepting cash or Tiffany jewelry in exchange for votes or favors. Kane, who is white, has defended herself, saying that the investigation was badly managed and tainted by racism. She claims the criticism comes from what she calls the “Good Ol’ Boys Club.” Williams, who is African American, has shot back: “I have seen racism. I know what it looks like. This isn’t it.”

The sting operation followed pretty much the same playbook as the federal Abscam investigation of the 1970s. Begun in 2010, the Philly probe was conducted under Kane’s three immediate predecessors as attorney general, and it resulted in more than 400 hours of video and audio recordings. Tyron B. Ali, a lobbyist originally from Trinidad, served as the undercover agent; after he was charged with fraud, he agreed to wear a wire in exchange for lenient treatment. Word of his cash offers eventually got around and prompted some elected officials to call him first. “Sources with knowledge of the sting said the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week.

Attorney General Kane inherited the investigation when she took office in January 2013. She told the Inquirer that she stopped it without filing any charges because it was “poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism.” She quoted Claude Thomas, the chief investigator in the case, as saying he had been ordered to target “only members of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus” and to ignore “potentially illegal acts by white members.”

In response, Williams issued an angry statement and penned an op-ed in Sunday’s Inquirer. “The notion that they would target anyone based on race is ridiculous,” Williams said in a statement. “I am confident they are not racist, and it is regrettable that the attorney general would casually throw around such an explosive accusation.” Thomas, who is also African American, now works for Williams and denies he ever made such a statement.

What is clear is just how damning some of the collected evidence is. The Inquirer reported this exchange between Ali, the lobbyist, and state representative Vanessa Brown:

Ali went to Brown’s office and handed her an envelope with $2,000, according to people who have reviewed a transcript of a tape Ali made on that day.

As Brown accepted the money, they said, she put it in her purse and said: “Yo, good looking and Ooowee. . . . Thank you twice.”

After he gave Brown the money, Ali urged her to vote against a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls, the sources said.

Kane’s supporters say that federal law-enforcement officials she consulted believed the probe had suffered from a lack of “quality control” and could be viewed as entrapment. “Is the acceptance of cash alarming? Absolutely,” one person close to Kane told the Inquirer. “But you’ve got to think: I’ve got to try this case.”

It certainly may have been politically awkward for Kane, as a Democrat, to prosecute only African-American defendants, but a conviction on something should have been a slam dunk. Even if prosecutors couldn’t prove a quid pro quo, it is illegal for politicians to accept payments to enrich themselves and also illegal not to report the income. Further, the prosecutors in this case have a sterling track record in securing convictions against the leadership of both parties in the legislature, winning 21 convictions in the 2010 “Bonusgate” scandal, which involved illegal payments to legislative staffers who performed political work. All of those convicted were white.

Kane has declined to answer detailed questions about why she dropped the investigation. Her critics, she says, are “playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.” When she met with Inquirer editors last Thursday, she brought her personal attorney and on his advice declined to answer any questions after the meeting. Her attorney says she may file a defamation suit against the paper, a ploy frequently used by public figures to intimidate journalists.

Williams says he is tired of Kane’s “escalating excuses.” He points out that when she took office, the files on the probe were with federal prosecutors who hadn’t yet concluded whether they wanted to pursue their own case. “All she had to do was leave the investigation in the hands of federal authorities,” Williams wrote in Sunday’s Inquirer. “But she didn’t do that. Instead, she asked for the files back. And then, after going out of the way to reclaim the investigation, she shut it down.”

One bit player in the drama, who had dealings with Ali and was shocked to learn later that Ali was a government agent, says the whole thing reminds him of a John Grisham novel. My vote is for House of Cards. And from what we know so far, it shouldn’t be too hard to start matching up some of the Philadelphia players with their dramatic counterparts in the Netflix series.

— John Fund is a national-affairs columnist for National Review Online.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: pennsylvania; philadelphia

1 posted on 03/23/2014 6:33:18 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: P.O.E.

PA PING!


2 posted on 03/23/2014 6:34:16 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing
He points out that when she took office, the files on the probe were with federal prosecutors who hadn’t yet concluded whether they wanted to pursue their own case. “All she had to do was leave the investigation in the hands of federal authorities,” Williams wrote in Sunday’s Inquirer. “But she didn’t do that. Instead, she asked for the files back. And then, after going out of the way to reclaim the investigation, she shut it down

Sounds to me like she got the word from Holder to drop it

3 posted on 03/23/2014 6:39:32 PM PDT by digger48
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To: smoothsailing
Kane is a vile human being; she knows perfectly well that the probe targeted politicians of all races and both parties, and was only facetiously dubbed the "Black Caucus Investigation" after the only people who accepted bribes were Black.

Her chief "source" has denied the targeting claims, and repudiated several statements attributed to him by Kane.

Williams has the authority to convene a special investigative Grand Jury within his jurisdiction. He should do so, and Kane should be the target of his probe.

The Governor also needs to get legislative action. Under existing PA statute, only the Attorney General can call a multi-county investigative Grand Jury. That needs to be changed so that the Governor can also call such investigations under his own authority, especially in states such as PA, where the attorney general is not part of the Executive. It's time to find out why Kane took this probe out of Federal jurisdiction and then so publicly deep-sixed the whole affair, especially given that the investigators' past track record for bringing in corruption convictions -- against both parties -- was so good.

4 posted on 03/23/2014 6:48:08 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!)
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To: FredZarguna

Can you spell ACCOMPLICE?


5 posted on 03/23/2014 6:49:05 PM PDT by MtnClimber (Just doing laps around the sun and shaking my head that progressives can believe what they do!)
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To: digger48

Time to file charges against her for malfeasance and corruption. Let’s see where those chips fall.


6 posted on 03/23/2014 6:50:39 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: digger48

Wouldn’t surprise me. She also refuses to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage.


7 posted on 03/23/2014 6:50:42 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Good for DA Williams.

It would be interesting to know if Kane is close in any way to Eric Holder.

This is reminiscent of what Holder did with the New Black Panther turkeys in the Philadelphia voter intimidation case but this seems more serious to me.

Both Kane and Holder are RATS that only enforce laws they see fit to enforce and they seem to not enforce those laws when other RATS and/or minorities are involved.


8 posted on 03/23/2014 6:52:03 PM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: FredZarguna

She’s an Eric Holder wannabe. What a disgusting excuse for an AG she is.


9 posted on 03/23/2014 6:53:44 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo

My guess is Kane and Holder are in routine contact with each other. Vile lawless lowlifes, both of them.


10 posted on 03/23/2014 6:55:58 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing
winning 21 convictions in the 2010 “Bonusgate” scandal, which involved illegal payments to legislative staffers who performed political work. All of those convicted were white.

i am assuming nobody cried racism in this instance...

11 posted on 03/23/2014 6:57:31 PM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: smoothsailing

You’re absolutely right, they’re both scum.


12 posted on 03/23/2014 7:02:29 PM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: latina4dubya
 photo 2d425817-2abf-4fb8-bd45-0094ce82df63_zps5853565a.jpg
13 posted on 03/23/2014 7:04:55 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing
I'm more in the mind of a Janet Reno wannabe, although Holder works as well.

Bossy will be looking for an AG, and understands from prior experience the value of having a partisan half-wit as the figurehead at DOJ, while some hand-picked Arkansas subaltern runs the actual show.

14 posted on 03/23/2014 7:08:59 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!)
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To: MtnClimber

Can you spell ACCOMPLICE?
*********************************

Yes, and also COMPLICITY!


15 posted on 03/23/2014 7:12:13 PM PDT by House Atreides
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To: smoothsailing

Yep. Absolutely corrupt.


16 posted on 03/23/2014 7:17:02 PM PDT by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: FredZarguna

Makes sense.You figure she’s being groomed or is PIAPS just keeping an eye on her at this point?


17 posted on 03/23/2014 7:18:23 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: digger48
Sounds to me like she got the word from Holder to drop it

Yep, this comes from on high, as a prosecution would make Holder's efforts to throw sand in the gears of Voter ID more suspect.

18 posted on 03/23/2014 7:20:42 PM PDT by Major Matt Mason ("Journalism is dead. All news is suspect." - Noamie)
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To: smoothsailing

Dropping the ball on this case, refusing to defend the Commonwealth’s DOMA against the ACLU...what exactly does this AG DO?


19 posted on 03/23/2014 7:28:07 PM PDT by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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To: lightman

She works for Holder.


20 posted on 03/23/2014 7:34:09 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Rule of Law, eh? Amazing... Tyranny in your face. FReegards


21 posted on 03/23/2014 7:43:56 PM PDT by GirlShortstop (Every person has a duty to seek and serve the truth. Abp Charles J. Chaput, OFMCap)
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To: smoothsailing
I'm sure Bossy keeps her eye on all the up-and-coming likely ladies...

[phrasing]

22 posted on 03/23/2014 7:49:11 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!)
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To: smoothsailing

While I don’t agree with some of what Williams has done, he’s taken a couple of stands since taking office that make me think he’s a relatively straight shooter (as ‘rats go) - the fact that he’s black and wants to pursue these cases should put the lie to the excuse that they were brought originally because of racism......


23 posted on 03/23/2014 9:02:55 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: smoothsailing

When can we finally ban broads from public office?


24 posted on 03/23/2014 9:22:26 PM PDT by Clemenza (Lurking)
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To: smoothsailing

Pennsylvania’s Democrat AG Kane put on a disgusting performance last week after the “Philadelphia Inquirer” spilled the beans on her dropping of an investigation that had recorded four state legislators from Philly taking bribes.

Kane brought lawyer Richard Sprague down to the newspaper to threaten a defamation suit.

Politicians are getting pretty brazen nowadays with their intimidation of the media in Washington and up here in Pennsylvania as well.

Kane is a Clintonista endorsed by the X-Rated President himself when she ran in the Dem primary for PA AG in 2012.


25 posted on 03/23/2014 10:18:23 PM PDT by Nextrush (AFFORDABLE CARE ACT=HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY BAILOUT ACT)
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To: smoothsailing; fatima; Fresh Wind; st.eqed; xsmommy; House Atreides; Nowhere Man; ...
PA Ping!

If you see posts of interest to Pennsylvanians, please ping me.

Thanks!

Thanks smoothsailing for the heads up

26 posted on 03/24/2014 2:11:52 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: smoothsailing

No racism involved. There are plenty of corrupt white democRats in Pennsylvania in general, and Philthadelphia in particular.


27 posted on 03/24/2014 5:06:38 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: smoothsailing

About time someone takes on this lunatic AG.

Even better that it’s one of her own party.


28 posted on 03/24/2014 6:35:33 AM PDT by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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To: Intolerant in NJ
While I don’t agree with some of what Williams has done, he’s taken a couple of stands since taking office that make me think he’s a relatively straight shooter (as ‘rats go)

A friend of mine went to high school with Williams, still knows him and told me when Williams was elected that he would be a straight shooter, which is a very refreshing change after that corrupt hag Lynn Abraham.

29 posted on 03/24/2014 6:39:56 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: P.O.E.

P.O.E. - Please pass this to the PA ping group for wider distribution.

Be advised, all PA Gunnies:

CeaseFire PA is calling us “Parasites” now.

http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/03/anti-gun-activist-goes-full-streicher.html

Video at link
http://townhall.com/video/disturbing-behavior-at-antigun-rights-rally-calls-other-side-parasite-n1812675

I’m sure we can put together a sizable number of gunnies to show up at their events...


30 posted on 03/24/2014 6:51:19 AM PDT by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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To: Clemenza

Far fewer Democrats would get elected, that’s for sure.


31 posted on 03/24/2014 8:16:48 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

I just saw this reported on Fox News.

I am totally disgusted, we now live in a country where your political party affiliation ALONE allows you to blatantly break the laws that the rest of us MUST follow.

Because they are Dems and Black?

This will only embolden crooks to greater illegal acts by Dems since they KNOW there will be no consequences FOR THEM. ALL they have to do is be Black?


32 posted on 03/30/2014 7:17:24 AM PDT by R0CK3T
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