Three Key Points About Kathleen Kane’s Decision to Shut Down Probe of Philly Dems

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Yesterday’s big Inquirer story is pretty complex, and the gigantic font they used for the headline certainly  makes it seem like they must’ve caught Kane doing something pretty bad . But in reality it looks like there’s a lot less here than meets the eye.

1. This story was clearly fed to the Inquirer by Frank Fina, a former top deputy to Tom Corbett when he was Attorney General.

Kathleen Kane is probing Fina’s botched handling of the Sandusky case, and the Corbett team is anxiously awaiting the release of that report.

The release of the Sandusky report will of course be one of the major events in the 2014 race for Governor, and the Fina and Corbett people have been encouraging the view that it would somehow be inappropriate to release the report during election season. Heaven forbid Tom Corbett be held accountable for the performance of his prior elected office.

It’s pretty hard not to come away thinking that this is Fina trying to throw some dirt on Kane ahead of the release of the Sandusky report. If he can color her actions as politically motivated in this case, people may be more receptive later when he inevitably says the Sandusky probe, or the timing of its release, is politically motivated.

2. Kathleen Kane’s targets for political corruption investigations don’t reveal any partisan pattern.

The charges against Democratic state Senator LeAnna Washington are just the latest example that puts the lie to the Fina/Corbett camp’s anonymous sources’ accusations that Kane is avoiding going after Philly Democrats in order to advance her statewide political ambitions. First of all that doesn’t even make political sense. “Racially conservative” Democrats in the rest of the state would love it if Kane went after the Philadelphia delegation.  Second off all, as her statement responding to the Inquirer story notes, the majority of the public corruption cases she’s brought involve Democrats:

“My record speaks for itself that prosecutions have no political agenda. Of the 11 public corruption cases we have brought so far, the majority involve Democrats. I will not sit back and allow lies from those who seek to destroy the public’s trust in me or my office.”

This skewed (toward Democrats) record invalidates the central premise of the story, but the Inky still ran with it anyway for some reason.

3. There’s no evidence of a quid pro quo gifts for votes scandal

The Inky article simply doesn’t have the goods on any link between gifts and votes. A Democrat doesn’t need a Tiffany bracelet to be persuaded to vote against Voter ID!

Did the sting Kane cancelled catch some Philly Democrats doing stupid things? There’s no question about it. Did it catch anyone doing illegal things? Well, you have non-disclosure of gifts, which Adam Bonin has been pointing out is a misdemeanor. And he also notes there’s no legal limit on the gifts politicians (or their spouses) can accept from lobbyists. They just have to be disclosed, and there can’t be a quid pro quo – a connection that the Inky article emphatically does not make.

Everyone should absolutely be scandalized by the ridiculously weak state ethics laws concerning gifts, and we should pass a new state law at least as strict as what’s being proposed in Philadelphia. That’s the correct target for people’s ire here.

This entry was posted in Elections, Governor.

13 Responses to Three Key Points About Kathleen Kane’s Decision to Shut Down Probe of Philly Dems

  1. Tsuyoshi says:

    Speaking as a Philadelphia Democrat, I would love it if Kane went after the Philadelphia delegation. I don’t believe my desires here are racially inspired either, as I would expect politicians of every race to end up behind bars.

  2. bramr101 says:

    4. They chose an African-American agent most familiar with African-Ameican political circles who dressed “very bling” to offer a wide array of lawmakers very, very small amounts of cash and ask for things like opposing VoterID.

    Sounds like they invented a clever way to target their partisan opponents with zero evidence, that would yield squishy but predictable results.

    And now, of course we’re hearing about it to muddy up the Sandusky meta-investigation. The only thing I fear about this is we’ll again be discussing Corbett’s time as AG and not as Governor.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Hopefully the bad job as AG and bad job as Governor will just get mushed into one big thing. Also, this needs to be the #blingsting from here on out.

  3. Pingback: Yeah, But How Will It Play With People Who Don't Understand The Story? - Keystone Politics

  4. Tsuyoshi says:

    Yeah… bribing a Democrat to oppose voter ID?

    “Well, this is a really tough vote for me, since my constituents suffer so much from voter fraud, but make it $2000 and we have a deal!”

    I can only imagine a steady diet of Fox News was involved in setting up this “investigation”.

  5. Steve Kidding says:

    Are you kidding…She charged Washington because she knew this story was going to break. Also, you have no clue as to the source.. No need for quid pro quo. They took money & didn’t report it-that is a crime.

  6. Kane has not a leg to stand on here. A Democrat AG purposefully dumps cases against an all-Democrat cast and the best she can do is cry “racism” – with no corroboration from anyone – or sexism, because “the good ol’ boys” don’t agree with her?

    Please … And I voted for her!

    They took the money and didn’t report it. What exactly is so complicated about that. Needless to say, every one of them will be re-elected when the time comes too!

  7. Tom Boyer says:

    As for not reporting gifts being a misdemeanor, didn’t Tom Corbett have this problem where one of his vacations was paid by a gas company executive to a much greater degree than Corbett had disclosed? These Republicans demanding a prosecution on not reporting gifts had better be careful what they wish for.

  8. JM Attero says:

    ILLEGAL is ILLEGAL and MUST be prosecuted! Kane is a disgrace in this. When politicians are caught breaking the law, there should be QUICKER AND MORE FORCEFUL prosecution. Kane is nothing but a partisan hack!

    • Patroit says:

      Ask frank fina what did Tom corbett did with ray gricar ? The missing Da that corbett wouldn’t let arrest sundusky .
      Follow the $$$$$$$$