October 14, 2015 |
Some might call it ironic that the same crusading district attorney who created an election fraud task force last year is now violating state election laws. Demoralizing might be a better word. If the public can't trust its top law enforcement officials to abide by the law, who can it trust? For more than six weeks, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams' political action committee ignored an Inquirer request to review financial records from 2012 to 2014. The newspaper reported in August that Williams is the subject of a federal investigation into alleged misspending of campaign funds on personal expenses.
July 3, 2015 |
THERE ARE days in our lives that stand out as historic, defined by a seminal event that upended the world as we knew it. We can remember exactly where we were when we got the news on those days. When John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or John Lennon were shot. When the Challenger blew up or when the Twin Towers came down. Friday, June 26, was such a day. For all of America's deep political, economic and other divides, we knew that one gulf had been irreversibly bridged.
June 15, 2015 |
With a fourth politician pleading guilty to corruption charges in the infamous sting investigation, it's clear that Philadelphia's dominant political party has let it down. Independent political movements are the most likely remedy. City Democrats have had many chances to clean up their mess since March 2014, when The Inquirer revealed Attorney General Kathleen Kane's mishandling of the sting investigation. Only District Attorney Seth Williams took action by taking on the case. It's dispiriting that most of the defendants - all Philadelphia Democrats - are getting off lightly, serving no time and probably keeping their pensions.
May 5, 2015 |
Where is the Federal Election Commission when you need it? With more money than ever swirling around political campaigns, the FEC should be making sure rules are followed. Instead, it's stuck in the same partisan funk that has debilitated the watchdog agency since 2008. That's when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) decided to gum up the works. By law, the FEC, created in 1975, has three members nominated by Democrats and three nominated by Republicans. The six are supposed to be nonpartisan, and they were for the most part until McConnell, who is now majority leader, chose three Republicans who made it their mission to act as obstructionists.
April 6, 2015 |
As a boy growing up in Cherry Hill, Michael Perice was in awe of his rabbi, Fred Neulander. "I remember him standing up there in front of hundreds of people," says Perice, now a rabbinical student. "He was a master orator. He was magnetic. " But the boy felt betrayed when the rabbi he expected would someday officiate at his bar mitzvah was charged - and ultimately, convicted - in the lurid murder-for-hire of his wife, Carol. Perice lost faith in Neulander ("a sociopath") and in rabbis generally ("I thought they were phonies")
February 26, 2015
ISSUE | CITY HALL BUG J'accuse, Sam Katz Michael Smerconish's column on Sunday contained an extraordinary accusation by former mayoral candidate Sam Katz that I knew I was lying when I criticized the Justice Department for playing politics regarding the bug placed in the office of then-Mayor John F. Street ("No regrets on Street tactice," Feb. 22). Well, Katz is wrong, and here is why: Shortly after the bug was discovered, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department in Philadelphia stated on the record that the department would have no comment whatsoever about who placed the bug. Except, she added, it wasn't the Katz campaign.
February 21, 2014
The pay-to-play culture is so entrenched in Pennsylvania politics that campaign finance reform efforts have been about as successful as throwing a pail of water on a towering inferno. Never mind that polls show the public is increasingly frustrated with a political system that gives special interests way more influence over the public policy agenda than mere voters, whose taxes finance the lucrative government contracts and favors that the big donors to political campaigns get. Need evidence of this twisted arrangement?
September 8, 2013 |
It seemed a moment of triumph Friday for Bob Gorman, chair of the Moorestown Democratic Committee. "One-thousand, three-hundred and ninety-three. Awesome," he murmured about 3:30 p.m. as he made a final tally of the signatures on a petition he was about to present to Town Clerk Patricia Hunt. But as Gorman stood counting outside Hunt's office, township Republicans were already preparing to thwart his effort to give them a black eye. The petition, which Gorman presented Friday afternoon to Hunt, demands a local referendum on a controversial pay-to-play ordinance that the town council adopted last month.
June 18, 2013
As important as it is to find out the truth about the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative organizations to enforce tax laws, more emphasis should be placed on the broken political campaign-finance system that led to the IRS's unacceptable behavior. The nation's laws on who and what can contribute campaign money are so porous that almost any person, group, or company can spend any amount to influence voters - even if what they say is a lie. Inadequate disclosure invites foreign interests to get involved.