By Rich Zeoli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a major political corruption drama unfolding in the state of Pennsylvania and the national media has yet to discuss the story. As many as five Democratic state legislators were caught on tape accepting cash bribes and gifts in exchange for a “no” vote on the controversial voter ID bill and the state Attorney General is refusing to prosecute.
In the neighboring state of New Jersey, traffic lanes were shut down and it became a national media obsession. In Virginia, the republican governor accepted gifts and found himself at the end of a federal indictment.
It seems no one in the national media or the Department of Justice seems to care what happens in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s reasoning for dropping the investigation of fellow Democratic public officials doesn’t pass the smell test. She argues that the confidential information (CI), lacks credibility because he bilked a public service program for hundreds of thousands of dollars and then made a deal to turn state’s evidence.
I spoke with a former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney who spent 15 years busting drug dealers and murders, with the help of drug dealers and murders. He said that 99 percent of the time the prosecution enlists the help of criminals to bring down bigger fish.
Just a few years ago, the United States Attorney for New Jersey busted 40 corrupt politicians in an operation known as Operation Bid Rig III. Their CI was guilty of bilking over $50 million in bad checks. His credibility was far more damaged than the Pennsylvania CI, yet the jury still convicted politicians who were caught on his tapes taking bribes.
General Kane’s second excuse for not prosecuting is the age old claim of racism. She claims that all the corrupt politicians caught on tape accepting bribes are in the legislative black caucus. But Democratic State Rep Angel Cruz, who is not an African American, was also offered cash by the CI and turned him down. This is a major contradiction that needs to be explained.
Imagine refusing to prosecute the Philadelphia mob because all the suspects are Italian American? Or ignoring crimes of a white supremacist organization because they’re all white? Or turning a blind eye to the crimes of a drug cartel because the members are all Mexican? Such an idea is so ludicrous that it pains me listen to Kane’s explanation.
Even the African American District Attorney of Philadelphia has dismissed the claim that the investigation was racially motivated and defended the prosecutors in the case.
Kathleen Kane is a politician with eyes on the Governor’s office and she has a record of choosing politics over the constitutional duties of her office. From refusing to defend Pennsylvania’s marriage law, a requirement of her office, to refusing to prosecute these corrupt politicians, Kane is simply unfit to hold the Office of Attorney General and she needs to go.
And the national media needs to shine a light on this story.