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PA Attorney General slams sting operation 'tainted by racism'

3/21/2014, 1:17 p.m.

A suave lobbyist makes his rounds in the Pennsylvania State House palming off wads of cash on black solons in a sting operation engineered by an ambitious district attorney. Four take the bait and are caught on audio and video doing so.

The confidential informant later asks the black lawmakers, all Democrats, to vote no on a controversial measure that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. No Democrat in Pennsylvania did.

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PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Here’s where the story goes south, for the office of former Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, anyway. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the state’s new attorney General, Kathleen Kane, shut down the sting, telling the paper the investigation was “poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism,” saying it had targeted African Americans.

Angel Cruz, who did not take money from the informant, suggested it is rare for a lobbyist to offer legislators cash:

“In his 14 years in the Capitol, Cruz said, his hallway encounter with Ali marked the first time anyone had tried to hand him an envelope stuffed with cash. Sure, lobbyists had tried to take him to lunch or dinner or drinks, but no one, he said, had ever offered him an outright bribe.”

The informant, Tyron B. Ali, 40, agreed to wear a wire and tape the officials to win favorable treatment after his arrest in a $430,000 fraud case, according to the Inquirer. Charges against Ali were subsequently dropped.