May 5, 2016
Getting caught in a 2011 FBI sting apparently didn't prevent disgraced insider John Estey from grabbing for more. When the FBI gave him $20,000 to bribe Pennsylvania legislators as an undercover informant, he allegedly pocketed $13,000 of it. Estey, who served as Gov. Ed Rendell's chief of staff, is expected to plead guilty as a result of the same investigation that forced another prominent Democrat, former state Treasurer Rob McCord, to admit threatening...
May 4, 2016 |
More than 250 prospective jurors were called Monday as lawyers in U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's federal corruption trial began picking the panel that will start weighing his fate later this month. Fattah, 59, said little as he arrived at the federal courthouse accompanied by his legal team: Mark Lee, Bruce Merenstein, and Samuel Silver. He paused only to tell reporters that he looked forward to cutting "through the fiction to get to the facts. " The start of the jury selection process, which will resume Tuesday, came six days after the 11-term congressman lost a bid for yet another term, losing in the Democratic primary to State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.)
May 3, 2016
ISSUE | PA. CONSTITUTION Anticorruption moves The Inquirer has reported that former Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord wore a wire to record conversations during his final weeks in office ("Sources: McCord wore wire in probe," Thursday). And the Republican nominee for state attorney general, John Rafferty, has challenged the Democratic nominee, Josh Shapiro, to join him in pledging that if elected, he would not run for governor during his four-year term ("Sparring begins in campaign for A.G.," Thursday)
April 29, 2016
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has "won more than 30 elections," he noted Tuesday, counting every primary and general - many of which were uncontested and most of which might as well have been. Two years ago, even though a longtime aide had pleaded guilty to corruption charges and implicated the congressman, Fattah won his 11th congressional term with 88 percent of the vote. But the Fattah era effectively ended in ignominy this week when, facing three challengers in the Democratic primary - three more than he had faced since 1994 - the congressman mustered only 35 percent of the vote and lost the nomination to veteran State Rep. Dwight Evans.
April 23, 2016 |
An Allentown political consultant whose cooperation with the FBI fueled one of the state's most significant municipal corruption probes resurfaced Thursday for the first time in months, this time to admit his own role in the scandal. Appearing in federal court in Philadelphia, Michael Fleck, 40, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery, charges tied to a wide-ranging pay-to-play investigation that has roiled city halls in Allentown and Reading, has implicated mayors in both cities, and led to the collapse last year of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's U.S. Senate bid. Fleck's plea came nine months after he abruptly shuttered his political consulting business and packed up his Allentown home, when word leaked he had worn an FBI wire to catch his clients shaking down government contractors for political donations.
April 14, 2016
By Arthur Caplan, Lee Igel, and Dominic Sisti With one week to go in the NBA regular season, Sam Hinkie decided to step down as general manager and president of basketball operations of the Philadelphia 76ers. As Sixers fans know, Hinkie has deliberately had the team tanking for years. His departure has to do with the Sixers brass, at the behest of an aghast NBA, forcing him to share decision-making authority with newly recruited executive Bryan Colangelo. But mainly Hinkie's departure has to do with a failure of "The Process.
March 17, 2016 |
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's bid to have his corruption case dismissed by relying on a congressional privilege meant to protect lawmakers' independence from interference from the executive branch. The decision clears the way for the Philadelphia Democrat's trial on racketeering conspiracy charges to proceed May 2. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III said none of the allegations in the indictment against Fattah violate the "speech and debate" clause - a constitutional provision that bars federal prosecutors from questioning lawmakers or holding them criminally responsible for their legislative acts.
February 26, 2016 |
Federal prosecutors alleged Wednesday that corrupt officials in the Chinese government financially supported and may have benefited from a scheme to steal trade secrets worth billions from a GlaxoSmithKline research facility in Montgomery County. But lawyers representing one of the five defendants accused of pilfering information from the British-based pharmaceutical giant's Upper Merion Township location called such claims a "fantastical assertion. " The dispute - which boiled over at a detention hearing in federal court in Philadelphia - struck at the heart of debate over the Justice Department's recent checkered history in prosecuting cases of alleged theft of trade secrets involving Chinese American scientists.
January 29, 2016 |
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Former Mayor Buddy Cianci, 74, the wisecracking political rogue who presided over the revitalization of Providence during two stints in office cut short by criminal charges and a prison sentence for corruption, died Thursday. WLNE-TV said Mr. Cianci was taping his weekly TV show, On the Record with Buddy Cianci , on Wednesday evening when he had severe stomach pains and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said he died Thursday morning.
January 23, 2016
"As it's been revealed over the last few years, and even the last few weeks, City Commissioner Anthony Clark's behavior is embarrassing and insulting to the voters and taxpayers of Philadelphia. His conduct also has serious and damaging consequences for Philadelphia's reputation in our state capital and around the country. At a time when the city needs political support from lawmakers from across Pennsylvania on important issues like school funding for our children, we can't afford the perception that we tolerate and reward elected officials who can't be bothered to show up for work.