August 25, 2015 |
Donald Trump isn't sucking all the air out of the 2016 presidential race. Give some credit to the disturbing influence of big money in politics. In just the first half of this year, super PACs supporting presidential candidates have raised 10 times as much as they did by the same point in the 2012 presidential election cycle, according to a recent analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. Finance, energy, and communications industry moguls head the list of extravagant donors whose largesse is shattering previous records.
August 14, 2015
THERE WAS high drama and porn talk, but no money shot. Instead, Kathleen Kane teased. In her first public statement since being criminally charged a week ago, the Democratic attorney general replayed the porn card, in fact doubled down. Why not? How do you not get attention with porn? She said the porn scandal she exposed last year that swallowed the jobs of several state officials and a state Supreme Court justice (Seamus McCaffery) is the sole source of her legal woes.
August 13, 2015
WHEN CONGRESS comes back to session from its August recess, members are expected to deliberate on a bill that would strip Medicare and Medicaid of provisions covering prostate- and colon-cancer screening, Viagra prescriptions and vasectomies. This follows word this week that the FDA is working on regulations that would put condoms behind locked cases, requiring a prescription from a doctor or a parental permission slip. Vasectomies would be subject to greater scrutiny in general health coverage plans, as well, and a new series of conditions will be imposed on those men wishing to get them.
August 11, 2015
KATIE McGINTY, former Pennsylvania environmental secretary, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former chief of staff to Gov. Wolf, last week announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate. She wants the seat now held by Sen. Pat Toomey, who's up for re-election next year. McGinty sat down for a Q&A with Daily News political columnist John Baer. Q: You're a Northeast Philly neighborhood native, large family, dad was a cop. How did your upbringing influence your life priorities?
August 10, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, it was Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the commonwealth's top law enforcement official, facing criminal allegations. Eight days earlier, federal prosecutors hit 11-term Philadelphia Rep. Chaka Fattah with 29 counts of racketeering and other charges. On May 1, a former aide to Gov. Christie and a close ally were indicted in the "Bridgegate" scandal. Exactly a month before that, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey was charged criminally with aiding a friend and donor in exchange for lavish gifts.
August 9, 2015 |
Even the dog wore the union's signature red shirt, dressed appropriately for a small rally held Friday by the Communication Workers of America at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. The rally, attended by Montgomery County elected officials and labor leaders, came as talks continue between Verizon Corp. and its employees represented by the CWA and another union, in a standoff that partly reflects changing technology. "Verizon had, what, a $3.1 billion profit last year - a 14 percent increase over the year before - and we still have to argue and fight about decent wages for workers?
August 7, 2015 |
TALMADGE BELO remembers when his Sharswood neighborhood was noted for winning Philadelphia More Beautiful awards. "I live on the 2400 block of Sharswood Street and they used to call this the utopia of North Philadelphia," Belo said. "You didn't drop a paper on the sidewalk. People were afraid to walk through our block because they knew they were under scrutiny, " he said. Today, however, the neighborhood is dotted with trash-strewn lots, where "the weeds are taller than I am," he said.
August 7, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - Katie McGinty will have the support of EMILY's List, an influential women's political group, which plans to endorse the Pennsylvania Democrat on Thursday, two days after she launched her run for the U.S. Senate. The Washington-based organization, which backs Democratic women who favor abortion rights, encouraged McGinty to join the race and is offering political and financial support. McGinty is seeking her party's nomination against former Rep. Joe Sestak of Delaware County.
August 7, 2015
THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S Office in Philly recently made itself a laughingstock with its relentless pursuit of the utterly irrelevant Joey Merlino for the outrageous criminal outrage of having a scotch and a cigar with a guy he knew 30 years ago. The Chaka Fattah indictment is somewhat less amusing, however. That this is purely a political vendetta cannot be doubted. The velvet glove came off for all to see when Sen. Menendez was indicted - another guy who was "being investigated" for years but then suddenly was indicted when the president's Iran deal was about to be finalized and it became clear Menendez would be the loudest Democratic vote against it. There are Democrats who are concerned about national security, but they now seem rather muted in their criticism over the prospect of a nuclear Iran 10 years from now. I wonder why that happened, don't you?
July 13, 2015 |
Americans can expect secretive groups to eagerly donate money to 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns even as candidates try to deny the corrupting nature of cash received from groups trying to influence government contracts, appointments, or laws that benefit certain businesses or ideologies. The unseemly practice would stop if the government agencies given the power to do something about the expected flood of dark money would only act. But don't hold your breath waiting for that.