The attorney general of Pennsylvania shut down an investigation of corrupt elected officials because everyone they caught – on tape – taking cash and gifts … was a black Democrat.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the sting operation began with a deal: A black lobbyist (who had been accused of fraud and participated in the sting to gain favorable treatment from the authorities) offered elected officials – black and white, Democrat and Republican – cash and gifts in exchange for votes.
Over a three-year period, the lobbyist found a handful of politicians willing to take the deal.
“Sources with knowledge of the sting said the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments,” said the Inquirer.
Furthermore, all the offending Democrats were black, members of the Philadelphia delegation to the state legislature.
“Four state lawmakers took money,” the newspaper reported. “State Rep. Ronald G. Waters accepted multiple payments totaling $7,650; State Rep. Vanessa Brown took $4,000; State Rep. Michelle Brownlee received $3,500; and State Rep. Louise Bishop took $1,500, said people with knowledge of the investigation.”
So far, none of the politicians have been charged with wrongdoing.
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State Attorney General Kathleen Kane told the Inquirer she stopped the investigation because it was “poorly conceived, badly managed and tainted by racism.” She even argued that the sting had specifically targeted African-Americans.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, however, himself a black Democrat, refuted the accusation.
“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.”
In one exchange, the lobbyist – wired for sound – went to State. Rep. Vanessa Brown’s office and “handed her an envelope with $2,000, according to people who have reviewed a transcript of a tape [the lobbyist] 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, (the lobbyist) urged her to vote against a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls, the sources said.”
Black leaders claim voter ID laws are thinly veiled Republican attempts to suppress black voters because many black people, who vote Democrat in overwhelming numbers, don’t have valid, government-issued IDs.
In another recorded meeting in April 2011, to mark State Rep. Waters’ 61st birthday, the lobbyist gave him $1,000, and the transaction was recorded on tape, according to people who read a transcript of the conversation.
As the lobbyist handed Waters an envelope, the sources said, Ali told him: “Hey, there’s $1,000 in there, bro.”
Waters replied: “My man, happy birthday to Ron Waters.”
All involved denied accepting illegal cash and gifts or said they could not remember.
The Inquirer revealed the investigation had gathered 400 hours of audio and video recordings of the lobbyist meeting with public officials. But soon after Kane’s inauguration in 2013 as the first female and Democrat attorney general in the state’s history, she began shutting the investigation down.
Then people connected to the investigation who saw the transcripts and read the recordings started talking to the Inquirer. Many of these people left the attorney general’s office soon after Kane took office.
Kane told the Inquirer the allegations are a political and sexist and racist attack from her Republican enemies: “Nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.”
The story is rocketing through Philadelphia business and political circles. Some say the results of the investigation are just “business as usual.” Other criticize the past three attorney generals for working with the lobbyist, who was under investigation for $430,000 in fraud as well as other cases of violations of election law.
Said one friend of Kane to the Inquirer: “Is this a John Grisham novel?”