Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kane's Case the Ag Owes More Details on the Philly Sting

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kane's Case the Ag Owes More Details on the Philly Sting

Article excerpt

A decision by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to shut down an investigation into corruption in Philadelphia cannot be the end of the inquiry. Not morally, anyway.

There are two sides to the story right now. Ms. Kane, a Democrat, says she inherited a deeply flawed investigation upon taking office last year and decided not to prosecute because no convictions could possibly result from it. Her critics, including a fellow Democrat who is Philadelphia's district attorney, say she dropped the case prematurely despite devastating evidence that was uncovered against five other Democrats during a three-year sting.

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Before she lawyered up with famed libel attorney Richard Sprague, Ms. Kane said that during the course of the investigation, a government informant handed out $20,000 in taxpayer money. She said the informant got a sweetheart deal from her predecessors in the attorney general's office on his own fraud charges - thousands of them - and that the case was poorly run and racially tainted, targeting black politicians.

Philadelphia DA Seth Williams, who is a black politician, says she is wrong and that the two lead investigators - both now work for Mr. Williams - have excellent reputations.

The public doesn't have enough information yet to decide who is right, and Ms. Kane isn't talking anymore. After the Philadelphia Inquirer reported her decision to drop the investigation, she held a news conference and requested a meeting with the newspaper's editorial board. At the scheduled time last week, though, she showed up with Mr. Sprague, who said he would be doing the talking instead of his client.

The voters elected Ms. Kane, not Mr. Sprague, as attorney general and she is duty-bound to give a much fuller account of the details - why this informant was used, how his targets were selected, what was the scope of the investigation and what legal hurdles she saw to bringing charges against Thomasine Tynes, president judge of Philadelphia Traffic Court, and four state representatives - Louise Bishop, Ronald Waters, Vanessa Brown and Michelle Brownlee. …

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