Over the past several weeks, a federal grand jury has served multiple subpoenas upon the City of Pittsburgh for administrative records, Solicitor Daniel Regan confirmed this morning.
Mr. Regan would not reveal what records were sought or which city department or departments maintained them.
In a separate and possibly related development this morning, two men, one in a Pittsburgh police T-shirt, wheeled a pile of boxes -- including at least one labeled "Parking Variances," into the grand jury room in the federal courthouse on Liberty Avenue, Downtown.
But some of you erstwhile Ravenstahl supporters — perhaps even a few "14th warders" — may be wondering how your contributions to the mayor's re-election campaign, defunct though it is, have now been turned to slam his opponent.
The answer? According to the Pennsylvania elections code, the mayor can do anything he wants with your money — as long as it is used to "influence the outcome of an election."
The Bill Peduto mayoral camp is out with its fourth TV ad of the spring, this one pivoting in a positive direction . . . as much as one can pivot while driving a street-sweeper.
The campaign among Peduto, Jack Wagner and Jake Wheatley has long been about who best can wipe away the messes of the Ravenstahl era and in this spot the councilman wheels around city neighborhoods while talking about ethics legislation, making UPMC pay more in taxes and his oft-cited claim about giving back a 2003 salary increase in a bid to save police jobs.
UPDATE: Regarding the police jobs, the Wagner camp responds:
For three weeks in a row, Bill Peduto has made a dubious claim the centerpiece of his campaign. A recent campaign mailer attacking Jack Wagner suggested Councilman Peduto "cut his own salary ... saving police jobs". This has been repeated in Peduto's most recent ad, an attack ad on Jack Wagner, and two negative direct mail advertisements. Today, the Wagner for Mayor campaign calls on Mr. Peduto to answer two simple questions: "Who are the officers whose jobs you saved?" and "Why are you trying to have it both ways on your salary increases?"
"We call on Councilman Peduto to immediately take down his deceptive advertisements making this false claim and apologize for misleading Pittsburgh," said Wagner Campaign Manager Henry de Koninck. "This claim is a lie. Mr. Peduto's stunt may make for a good campaign sound byte but the facts suggests a much more troubling record on bolstering public safety for Bill Peduto."
4. An Allegheny County councilwoman says constables -- not the delightful London variety, but rather the retired-guy-in-the-corner type -- aren't necessary to keep the peace at polls and should be eliminated from the Election Day budget.
5. Tucked in today's business section is a story to note: Pennsylvania is No. 1 in casino tax revenue. With $1.5 billion collected in 2011, we beat out both Nevada and New York, who collected about $800 million each.