POLITICS: Campaigns

Report: Pennsylvania Dem took bribe to oppose voter ID law, but never got charged

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Voter Registration,Campaigns,Voter ID Laws,Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Democrats reportedly were caught on tape accepting cash bribes, including one lawmaker who was paid to vote against a state voter identification law, but Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane shut down the investigation.

"Before Kane ended the investigation, sources familiar with the inquiry said, prosecutors amassed 400 hours of audio and videotape that documented at least four city Democrats taking payments in cash or money orders, and in one case a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "Typically, the payments made at any one time were relatively modest -- ranging from $500 to $2,000 -- but most of those involved accepted multiple payments, people familiar with the investigation said. In some cases, the payments were offered in exchange for votes or contracts, they said."

State Rep. Vanessa Brown wouldn't comment on the Inquirer story, but the report relates a conversation between Brown and Tyron Ali, a lobbyist who agreed to be a government source "to win favorable treatment" in a fraud case.

"After he gave Brown the money, Ali urged her to vote against a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls," the report says. "Brown voted against the measure -- as did every other Democrat in the House."

The investigation began in 2010 under now-Gov. Tom Corbett, who served as attorney general at the time, but closed in 2013. "In a statement to The Inquirer on Friday, Kane called the investigation poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism, saying it had targeted African Americans," the report notes.

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