The Attorney Generalâ€™s Office had centered its sting around a man named Tyron B. Ali, a moderately powered political operative who found himself on the wrong end of the a fraud charge.
In fact, it was a $430,000 fraud charge â€¦ for which he was given total immunity in exchange for participating in this sting.
That alone made this whole investigation suspect. You defraud people for darn near $500,000 and folks give you a wire so that you can have lunch at The Palm with politicians and had also thought of giving you luxury office space as they expanded the probe? Really?! And you get no time? Okayâ€¦.
The sting-ees wound up being folks like State Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Louise Williams Bishop, Ron Waters, Michelle Brownlee and former Traffic Court judge Thomasine Tynes.
And they took stuff. Stuff like money. And letâ€™s be honest here, if someone hands you a light-blue box from Tiffanyâ€™s, you should assume that itâ€™s probably a gift you shouldnâ€™t take if youâ€™re a politician â€¦ unless itâ€™s your birthday and itâ€™s coming from your significant other.
(Tynes, who got the $2,000 Tiffany bracelet, could have saved herself some trouble if she just put it up for auction at a political fundraiser. Iâ€™m just sayinâ€™.)
Kane said the case, which featured 400 hours of taped conversations and represented years of work, was so poorly run that it smacked of entrapment and, because of who got caught up in it, racist.
Those are both valid arguments. Now letâ€™s keep it real here. If you send someone into West Philadelphia to stage a political sting operation, all youâ€™re gonna get is Black politicians. Thatâ€™s all thatâ€™s there. Thatâ€™s all that gets elected there. Even the folks that represent the University of Pennsylvania section of West Philly, the section thatâ€™s the most diverse, are Black.
But those who are mad at Kane for not continuing the probe have a good argument too: These folks represent a community that has been traditionally underserved and has had its issues with people who use their offices not to benefit their constituencies, but to benefit themselves. Someone needs to be taken to the woodshed for that.
And to be fair, Kane has shown an interest in that. Just last week, she handed down an indictment against State Sen. LeAnna Washington for using Senate staffers to plan her fundraiser/birthday party.
But people are going to be keeping an eye on Kane in the African American Political Corruption Dept. for two reasons: One, sheâ€™s a Democrat and two, well, sheâ€™s a Democrat.