TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Kathleen Kane's conundrum

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG

Reviews of pending state contracts by the attorney general are usually pro forma. But one of new Attorney General Kathleen Kane's first major decisions is reviewing the mega-contract to farm out the management of the state lottery to a British company with $34 billion at stake.

Normally the reviews are for “form and legality.” In the vast universe of state contracts awarded, major legal issues are few and far between.

Kane, a Democrat, gets to decide whether a carefully developed contract by the GOP Corbett administration awarding the lottery privatization contract will stand. Regardless of what she decides — fairly or not — it will look political.

Corbett downplayed it when asked about Kane's review, suggesting the review is routine.

In this case, there are outstanding legal issues, according to Senate Republicans, Senate and House Democrats, state Treasurer Rob McCord and the union representing state lottery workers.

Democrats in the Legislature contend the contract is illegal because it's an end-around of the Legislature to allow keno games in taverns and clubs.

McCord has said he might not pay the contractor, Camelot Global Services PA, if he determines keno needs legislative approval.

In a recent letter to Corbett, Senate Republicans didn't question the governor's ability to approve keno in the contract but took it a step further, saying spinoff games simulating casino action would affect the state's casino industry. They asked that the contract be rewritten.

The arguments from any of the above parties would provide Kane with a plausible reason to reject the contract.

If she rejects it, it will seem like one of her first major decisions was to tank a GOP governor's initial step into privatization. That won't hurt her in the Legislature, where it is generally unpopular.

Corbett argues he is pursuing the privatization to boost lottery revenues for senior programs, which will be stretched thin as more baby boomers move into senior status. He'll be able to maintain, at least, that Kane is standing in the way of that protection for the elderly.

Yet the lottery without Camelot provided $1 billion to senior programs last year.

If a delay persists, Camelot could walk.

There are some who think approving the contract would show Kane to be nonpartisan — important when you know she will be taking a major whack at Corbett later this year after concluding an investigation of how Corbett, as former attorney general, handled the 33-month Jerry Sandusky investigation.

An approval would make a lot of Democrats in the Legislature unhappy right off the bat.

One factor that might come into play: Greenhill & Co., the investment banking firm that brought Camelot into the project, might not have its multimillion-dollar pay day if the contract is rejected.

Former Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell, still a potent fundraiser and player in Philadelphia, works for Greenhill. He and the company say he is removed from this project. Still, he would undoubtedly like to see Greenhill continue to prosper.

There are pros and cons both ways for Kane.

Brad Bumsted is the state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media (717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com).

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Gibonia’s Saad shows off Stanley Cup at 911th Airlift Wing
  2. Beaver County widow won’t lose home over $6.30 late fee
  3. Cuts at Range Resources include layoffs
  4. Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation
  5. Appeals court clears way for class-action lawsuit against PNC
  6. Water Works Road in Sewickley closed for months
  7. Mon Incline rehab postponed until after Labor Day
  8. Steelers undaunted by Brady’s suspension
  9. Youngwood playground found to be in violation of disability act again
  10. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  11. Indiana County man dies when ATV strikes corn crib