The story of the corruption investigation killed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane hasn’t gotten much attention nationally, but it’s an interesting story. The terminated investigation, commenced in the office of then Attorney General (now Governor) Tom Corbett caught four Philadelphia state representatives taking cash from an informant working a sting operation.
Kane has accused those who ran the investigation of racism and the characterized the criticism of her her as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.” Kane followed up last week with threatening noises about a possible defamation action against the Philadelphia Inquirer, which broke the story, even though she has yet to identify a false statement of fact made by the paper. Kane’s reaction all by itself persuades me that the story rightly focuses on her.
The story continues to resonate in Philadelphia. The Inquirer reports that the four representatives who took were caught on tape taking money from the informant are running for reelection. Only one has a primary opponent, and there is no Republican opponent to any of the four on the horizon. Philadelphia is a one-party town.
Inquirer columnist Karen Heller decried the spectacle in “The gifts that keep on giving.” Heller lamely calls for additional laws or rules to prohibit cash gifts from lobbyists. More acutely, she notes the lack of political opposition faced by the representatives involved.
Perhaps Philadelphia could call on its old contacts in what was then Leningrad. Philadelphia pursued a formal sister-city relationship with Leningrad over six years back in 1980’s, when it was a Communist bulwark. Philadelphia’s old contacts in what is now St. Petersburg again might be able to teach them how to reconstitute a multiparty system.
UPDATE: John Fund arrives on the scene with the NRO column “Philly DA blows the whistle on Pennsylvania’s state AG.”