News & Notes September 8, 2015

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton has committed treason yet again pledging fealty to a foreign leader while undermining his own.  It’s time for the DOJ to file charges.  Imagine the field day the DSCC will have when he runs for re-election.

Kathleen Kane has protested the actions taken against her by the state Supreme Court to strip her of her law license.  That would force her out of office before any possible impeachment or criminal conviction would.  Her argument is that doing this now deprives her of her due process rights.  For once I agree with Kane.  Let’s allow the legal and political processes to proceed before taking this action.  Yes, she’s completely incompetent, a vindictive pathological liar whose faults have landed her in deep hot water.  Her AG’s office is totally dysfunctional but she was elected to office and the proper channels must be followed in removing her from that office.  This is about the rule of law.

The situation in Rowan County Kentucky is also about the rule of law.  Kim Davis swore an oath as a public official to uphold the law and she refused to do so.  Now it’s landed her in federal prison for contempt of court.  This is about the rule of law.  We are not a theocracy.  If Davis wishes to live and work in one she should move to Iran.

Most of the GOP presidential field has rushed to her side supporting her patently illegal actions. How can one credibly run for President and swear to uphold the constitution after openly opposing the rule of law?  After all, the President’s job is enforcing and upholding the laws of the land.

Donald Trump’s racism is creating a divide in this country between morality and immorality.  While we sit and watch European nations openly welcoming refugees from Syria Trump and his allies would be there burning them at the stake.  These aren’t Christian people and we aren’t a Christian nation according to our words and deeds.

Kane Is Charged

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was officially charged today for criminal conduct.  The charges are perjury, official oppression, obstruction of justice and contempt of court.  These are especially heinous charges for a state AG who is supposed to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth.  They stem from a Montgomery County grand jury investigation.  Kane was trying to seek revenge against a former prosecutor in her office who went to work for Philadelphia DA Seth Williams.  It escalated when Kane decided to drop an investigation into political corruption against several Philly area State Representatives.  All were caught on video accepting bribes.  She was caught lying about a supposed affadavit she had which didn’t exist when justifying her decision.

I caught Kane’s campaign lying repeatedly during her primary election contest versus Patrick Murphy.  I wrote about it at the time and her campaign communications director called me and continued to lie to me.  I wrote about that also.  One of the facets of being a blogger like me is that I get to meet and take the measure of many candidates for office.  I also interact regularly with public officials.  My gut has always been very good at determining who is good and who is bad.  It screamed at me that Kathleen Kane was as bad as they get.

I have not been at all surprised at her actions as AG.  Her two biggest faults are her extreme vindictiveness and her inability to tell the truth.  Both have resulted in these serious charges.  Official oppression means she used the power of her office to go after someone unjustly. The allegations are that she then lied about it under oath.

Ironically news that a grand jury recommended charges be brought against her were also leaked to the press.  To be fair I hope that disclosure is equally investigated and prosecuted.

Kane’s AG office has been a cesspool of failure since she took over.  Constant turnover and questionable personnel decisions have loomed over her prolonged incompetence.  She is the first Democrat to be elected Attorney General in Pennsylvania and, after her, there likely will never be another.  Republicans will use this as a weapon against any future Democrat seeking the office.  These ads write themselves.

Hopefully justice will be served.

Democratic Corruption Going Wild

The corruption among elected Democratic officials in the Commonwealth keeps growing.  Yesterday Reading City Council President Francis Acosta pled guilty to conspiracy to accept a bribe.  Today Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is expected to face charges.

Two of Kane’s biggest personal faults are coming back to haunt her:  her vindictiveness and her inability to tell the truth.  She will be accused of leaking grand jury testimony in order to damage the reputation of someone she disliked and then lying about it under oath.  Kane lies about everything and her penchant to get back at those she dislikes has turned her office into a disaster area.

In Reading an FBI a few weeks ago led to the first domino falling in Acosta.  A man who seemingly came out of nowhere to get a seat on City Council then get elected as Council President, he agreed to try and repeal an ethics law designed to restrict corruption.  The campaign finance caps prohibited anyone receiving no bid city contracts from contributing more than a set amount to a campaign.  Mayor Vaughn Spencer (obviously “elected official #1 in the indictment) faced a tough re-election campaign due to a failed first term and needed to have the ethics law repealed.  According to Acosta’s plea agreement he agreed to contribute $1800 to “elected official # 2” if Francis would repeal the ethics law.  He introduced a resolution to do just that but Council members with integrity successfully fought the action.

It appears that Mayor Vaughn Spencer will soon join Acosta in federal prison.  He accepted $84,000 from four persons who were limited by that law in what they could contribute to his campaign.  The Mayor routinely violated laws and ordinances during his term leading to constant battles with Council.  The legal fees from those fights amounted to more than $1 million for a cash strapped city unable to provide basic services.  He and Acosta are both cronies of State Representative Thomas Caltagirone who has run the Berks County Democratic Committee from behind the curtain for years.  One of his staffers ran Acosta’s unsuccessful campaign for Mayor four years ago.  He and Spencer go way back.

The common denominator in the corruption in Reading and Allentown goes to consultant Mike Fleck.  This seems to have begun with the investigation of former Treasurer Rob McCord who pled guilty earlier in the year.  Fleck was his consultant in his failed campaign for Governor following Mayor Ed Pawlowski’s withdrawal from the race.  The Allentown City Hall offices were raided recently by the FBI and it has been reported that Fleck wore a wire against both Mayors before disappearing.  

I’ve known Fleck since he appeared on the scene running various Democratic campaigns.  No campaign he ran was legal and above board.  I even warned people running against his candidates to expect shenanigans.  There always were.  It’s no wonder that someone who had no regard for election laws would also violate other laws.  In the cases of McCord, Pawlowski and Spencer, this just goes to prove the old adage that when you sleep with stray dogs you get fleas.

When we combine these corruption scandals with the recent indictment of Congressman Chaka Fattah Pennsylvania Democrats have much work to do to clean up their act.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party even hired Fleck’s consulting business for a time before severing the relationship.

Consultants are big business in politics.  They are paid well to manage and strategize campaigns for candidates.  A bad consultant, and they are legion, can do irreparable harm as Fleck has.  Shortly after the FBI raids in Allentown he dissolved his business and fled.  Acosta’s fall is simply the second domino to fall (after McCord) in what appears to be a succession of Democratic Mayors heading to prison.

Tough Times For PA Democrats

It’s been a bad year for Pennsylvania Democrats.  The FBI raid on City Halls in Reading and Allentown seem to have ensnared Mayors Vaughn Spencer and Ed Pawlowski in pay to play corruption schemes, the State Attorney General is facing potential criminal charges for leaking secret grand jury information and is accused of failing to prosecute Philadelphia area lawmakers in a probe which was successfully concluded by a rival DA.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has garnered multiple convictions against State Representatives Ronald Waters, Michelle Brownlee, Harold James.  Vanessa Lowery Brown and Louise Willaims Bishop are also facing charges.

Former Harrisburg Mayor Ed Reed may be the biggest prize of all for prosecutors though as he faces hundreds of counts for purchasing artifacts with taxpayer funds then keeping them for himself.

All of these corruption cases involve members of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Did someone spike the punch at recent State Committee meetings?  It certainly seems to be contagious.  Of course public corruption inflicts officials of both major political parties but at the present time the state GOP has to be licking its lips at the stain being given to Democrats.

It begins at the top where AG Kathleen Kane is obviously over her head.  She can’t keep staff or even the attorney she hired to represent her against criminal charges.  It seems she has a bad vindictive streak she is unable to control.  She also has a bad habit of lying-something I exposed during that election.

So what doe Democrats here do to clean up their act?  Losing consultant Mike Fleck is a first step since he disappeared after wearing a wire against former clients Pawlowski and Spencer.  The Philadelphia lawmakers charged and convicted say much about the sad state of Bob Brady’s “machine” there.  No one in Philly can breathe without first clearing it with Brady and no one gets elected without his blessing.  Mush of this scandal must lay at his doorstep.

Update:  Yet another black eye.  Congressman Chaka Fattah has been indicted for accepting an illegal loan for $1 million.  Yet another Brady crony.

Leak Says Kane to be Indicted

According to press accounts a leak from a secret grand jury says Attorney General Kathleen Kane will be indicted for leaking secret grand jury proceedings to the Philadelphia Daily News to attack an enemy.  It’s ironic that the news comes via a leak.  It makes one wonder if it’s really a crime after all if the PA Supreme Court grand jury, begun by former Republican Chief Justice Ronald Castille and run by GOP District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman of Montgomery County leaked this information.  Who will now investigate this leak?

If it feels like a merry-go-round it is.  Of course my issues with Kane go back to the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for AG when Kane ran false claims against her opponent Patrick Murphy.  Her campaign made blatantly false assertions about him to damage his credibility with voters.  When I called them out on it they lied about giving me the information (it was given to me in a telephone call by her campaign communications director).  Kane then lied about it on PCN when a viewer called in questioning her veracity.

Since then Kathleen Kane has been in a downward spiral due to her penchants for attacking her political foes and for lying.  She made numerous assertions about why she wouldn’t prosecute numerous public officials caught on tape accepting bribes.  Philadelphia DA Seth Williams then took the case and, so far, has obtained three convictions.  Not only was the case prosecutable but Williams held a press conference and proved that Kane’s assertions about the cases were all lies.

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Kane’s political carreer has been like a meteor:  up quickly and then burned out in flames.  Mentioned just last year as a possible contender for the U.S. Senate seat held by Tea Bagger Pat Toomey (up for re-election next year) she now is facing disgrace and a possible criminal conviction.

Ferman has now to decide when and whether to arrest the state’s sitting Attorney General.  She is not running for re-election so isn’t facing dire political consequences thus she can make this decision free of that baggage.  Current MontCo Commissioner and former DA Bruce Castor (a good man) has announced his candidacy to seek his old job.  He is the minority Commissioner and being DA would give him much more job satisfaction.

Kane Divorce Raising Questions

State AG Kathleen Kane is in trouble.  Not just from Seth Williams, the Philly DA is called her out as a liar or that investigation into whether her office revealed secret grand jury testimony.  Yes, she might get indicted for that one but her filing for divorce last week raises some interesting questions.  Her campaign still owes her husband $1,700,000 according to her 2013 year end campaign finance report.  She hasn’t filed any reports this year so it’s obvious she hasn’t paid him off yet.  That would have generated a new report.

So what happens to her stated plans to run for re-election.  Forget for a minute that she’s dead candidate walking.  How viable is she as a potential candidate?  Her ex can very possibly bankrupt her campaign committee with a simple lawsuit for repayment.  She didn’t raise any funds this year and has about $592,000 cash on hand according that year old campaign finance report.  Since she hasn’t filed a report since then this means her committee hasn’t raised or disbursed any funds.  Her 2014 year end report should reflect this if she’s following the law (a big if with this official).

So how does she run for re-election with no money?

How does anyone in their right mind contribute to her campaign knowing they’re really just sending money to her ex?

Is anyone still willing to contribute to her efforts after all this bad publicity?

How many opponents are waiting to pounce knowing she’s politically crippled?

There’s no such thing as an amicable divorce.  The fact Chris Kane doesn’t have an attorney makes me think she blindsided him with this lawsuit.  If I’m him the second thing I do is hire a civil litigator and go after my money.  That bankrupts her campaign.

Questions, questions.

Kane Isn’t Able

Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s political career is dead.  The once rising star made a major miscalculation when she revealed an undercover sting operation begun by her predecessor would not lead to further action by her team.  She called it a failed investigation fraught with racism and said it was unprosecutable.  Philadelphia DA Seth Williams took that failed case and has already indicted two of its targets and has a grand jury investigating more.  State Representatives Vanessa Lowery Brown and Ronald Waters are currently facing the music.  So much for a case which was unprosecutable.

As if this isn’t enough she had to testify before a grand jury investigating leaks from her office about secret grand jury testimony which her office made public.  Then Williams revealed that numerous statements she made publicly about the investigation she dropped were lies.  Not that this surprised me because I outed her as a liar in the Democratic primary election when she ran for this office.  I hate to say this but I told you so.

Kane Gets Blowback on DOMA Decision

Attorney General Kathleen Kane is getting blowback this week on two separate issues.  First is her shameless wrangling to evict Judge Barry Feudale from his responsibilities overseeing central PA grand juries.  The second is over her decision not to defend the state’s Defense of marriage law in a suit filed by the ACLU.  Right wing ideologues are scorching her for this claiming she must because it is her duty to uphold the law, in this case, a law which has been declared unconstitutional on the federal level.

How can a law which has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court be defended on a state level?  It is no longer lawful and therefore indefensible.  Why is it these idiots, blinded by their bigotry, cannot understand that she is defending the law of the land by not defending this state one in court?

Kane Won’t Defend Pennsylvania Marriage Ban

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced yesterday her office will not defend the state’s DOMA law in a legal action entered into federal court by the ACLU of PA on behalf of two dozen same sex couples.  The Commonwealth passed the law limiting rights and we just saw the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the federal law as unconstitutional.  If the federal law is unconstitutional because its violates couple’s rights then each state law is also unconstitutional.  Unfortunately they will need to be litigated on a state by state basis.  Ours is the first such challenge to be filed nationally.

I called for such action the day the SCOTUS decision was issued, challenging my peers in committed relationships to seek marriage licenses then hire civil rights counsel to challenge the law.  This is what the ACLU is doing.  There’s no way, following the SCOTUS decision, that a Judge can go against that momentous, landmark decision and uphold these discriminatory laws.

Meanwhile State Reps Brian Sims and Steve McCarter  have co-sponsored a marriage equality bill in Harrisburg.  Sims is the first openly gay person elected to that body in Pennsylvania.  McCarter issued this statement yesterday following the Kane announcement:

I’m extremely proud of Attorney General Kane for doing what is best for Pennsylvanians and agreeing that we must not stand in the way of progress and true marriage equality for all,” McCarter said. “The law banning gay marriage is obsolete and frankly, a violation of the rights of thousands of LGBT citizens.

“It’s the right thing to do and is a fundamental civil rights issue,” McCarter said.

The lawsuit challenging the gay marriage ban was filed in federal court on Tuesday by two dozen Pennsylvania residents seeking to force Pennsylvania to allow them to marry or recognize their same-sex marriages performed in other states.

“Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that does not allow either gay marriage or civil unions, which only acts as a detriment to our state,” McCarter said. “I’m honored to be working with Representative Brian Sims to gather support in the legislature for a bill that would legalize gay marriage and finally bring true marriage equality to all Pennsylvanians.”

 

Kane Voids Lottery Privatization

Attorney General Kathleen Kane voided Gov. Gasbag’s contract with Camelot Global Services.  The effort to privatize the lottery bypassed both the legislature and the Gaming Control Commission and as such was declared unconstitutional.  The AG by law had to sign off on the deal and she decided she could not do so.