'Finger lickin' good' support for Toomey
While there's no confirmation that campaign operatives dig into buckets of KFC while poring over opposition research at Pat Toomey's headquarters, it is clear that the Republican Pennsylvania U.S. senator has a friend in fried chicken.
The Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees Inc. Political Action Committee — yes, there's a PAC for that — gave Toomey $5,000 last year for his re-election, according to end-of-the-year campaign finance reports. The fast-food chain also contributed to Toomey's campaign in 2010.
Fast-food restaurants have become a focal point in the national debate over raising the minimum wage, which Toomey opposes.
The KFC group paid $120,000 last year to lobby Congress on unspecified tax and labor issues, as well as menu-labeling requirements, according to lobbying disclosure documents. It also lobbied on the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act, a provision Toomey is vehemently against.
Toomey is not up for re-election for another two years, but he still raised more than $6 million in 2013 and has $4 million waiting in his campaign war chest.
— Colby Itkowitz
Pennsylvanians rip Justice Department pick
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says a defendant has a right to a speedy, public trial and "to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."
But lawyers who defend cop killers can find themselves in a heap of political trouble, as President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division found out.
Lawyer Debo Adegbile was under intense criticism and pressure from law enforcement and political circles for his defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in 1982 of killing a Philadelphia police officer.
Adegbile's nomination was denounced last week by Gov. Tom Corbett, former Gov. Tom Ridge, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. (All are Republicans, with the exception of Williams, a Democrat.)
"Mr. Adegbile pushed the boundaries of appropriate advocacy in supporting the cause of a convicted murderer," Corbett said in a joint statement issued with Ridge.
Abu-Jamal, a journalist and cab driver, killed officer Daniel Faulkner, 25 during a 1981 traffic stop altercation in which Faulkner shot Abu-Jamal before dying. After his conviction and death sentence, Abu-Jamal become an international cause celebre by advocates who alleged a racist police frame job.
Adegbile was a lead attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund when the federal appeals court overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence in 2011. Abu-Jamal now is serving a life sentence.
Toomey ripped Adegbile's role in the defense, saying, "The lawyers Mr. Adegbile supervised promoted the myth that Abu-Jamal was a heroic political prisoner who was framed because of his race, instead of the cowardly, unrepentant killer that he is."
Despite the criticism, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Adegbile on Thursday along a straight party line. His nomination moves to the full Senate.
Lawmakers spend campaign funds to mingle in N.Y.
The annual end-of-the-year Manhattan gathering of Pennsylvania's political elite — and people who enjoy proximity to power — doesn't come free.