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FBI subpoenas several Pa. GOP lawmakers: report

Plus, the push to put teeth back in Pa.'s dog law.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
August 11, 2022
Capitol questions, Cutler's stance, canine cops, territorial dispute, rally rules, brief tenure, and the eels are back. It's Thursday. This is PA Post. 

Federal investigators delivered subpoenas or paid visits to the offices of several Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg this week, according to a PennLive report citing multiple sources. 

The sources, who demanded anonymity in order to discuss the investigatory details shared with them, said the information being requested centers on U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) — a top Trump ally whose phone was seized by FBI agents on Tuesday, one day after a raid at Trump's Florida home. 

"At least some of the individuals [in Harrisburg] receiving subpoenas were told they were not targets of an investigation," PennLive adds, "but that they may have information of interest to the FBI."

Sources told the outlet that the investigation is focused on Perry's role in a plan to use alternate/fake electors to try to overturn Biden's 2020 victory.

Find PennLive's full report with statements from the offices of Pennsylvania's House and Senate Republican leaders here.

THE CONTEXT: Perry, of York County, has been extensively linked to Trump's efforts to overturn Biden's 2020 victory. He has so far refused to cooperate with congressional investigators probing those activities and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

The New York Times calls Tuesday's seizure of Perry's phone "the latest sign of an escalating election inquiry" by the DOJ, one that's centered on the efforts to block Biden's win and distinct from the Presidential Records Act-related probe that led FBI agents to Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

Perry's lawyer, John Irving, told the paper that Perry's phone was returned to him on Wednesday. Irving also said that prosecutors informed Perry that "he was a witness in, not a subject of, their inquiry."

"Representative Perry has directed us to cooperate with the Justice Department in order to ensure that it gets the information it is entitled to," Irving added, "but to also protect information that it is not entitled to."


"The question is whether the votes from my constituents supporting me matter and I'm duly elected or this position is really only an appointment by the Berks County Republican Committee."

—Jamie Kyle, who was elected to the Berks County Republican Committee but asked to answer a series of probing questions before assuming the role

» TALK OF THE TOWN: On Friday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. ET, meet our new State College regional bureau team, get an inside look at what we're investigating, and tell us how we can better connect with you. RSVP here. Tell us what you want to know about the bureau at events@spotlightpa.org

The view from Penns Valley in Centre County, via Scott G. Send us your photos, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
POWER CHECK: State House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster) says the Pennsylvania Constitution precludes lawmakers from naming alternate presidential electors, LNP reports (paywalled), a statement that puts him at odds with members of his own party, who are actively working to cement such power, and the GOP nominee for governor, whose involvement in a 2020 electors scheme is under investigation. 

DOG DAYS: The "fight to put some teeth back in Pennsylvania's dog law" got a look from City & State, which found the relevant enforcement bureau understaffed and struggling to fill critical vacancies as costs outstrip revenue. The proposed solution: The first dog license fee hike in 26 years. But despite being "within inches" of a fee deal, lawmakers and Gov. Wolf wound up passing a new state budget without one.

DISASTER ZONE: It's been 77 days since a house explosion killed four children and one adult in Pottstown. The cause still hasn't been released and community members are growing frustrated. Morning Call (paywalled) found a blast site still strewn with rubble and clothing and a slow-moving probe dogged by jurisdictional discrepancies: The ATF says local police have the lead; local police say the opposite

STUMP VENUE: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' Aug. 19 rally for Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano in Pittsburgh will be held at a downtown hotel, not the convention center as organizers initially reported, per PublicSource's Charlie Wolfson. Restrictions on media outlets are already in place, and the press registration form includes an unusual ask for links to past coverage of similar events.

IN AND OUT: Columbia Borough's newest council member gave up the post a day after assuming it because officials learned he'd been convicted of a felony for his role in a $50 million mail-fraud scheme, LNP reports (paywalled). Local leaders say they were unaware of Alan M. Landsman's criminal record or his year-long federal prison stint when they tapped him to fill a vacant council seat on July 26.

PGH TWOFER: Downtown Pittsburgh does in fact need more public restrooms, a Point Park University study confirms. But does it need fewer rivers? Artificial intelligence can help us decide.

HALF PRICE: Drexel University will offer a 50% tuition discount to people from Pennsylvania and New Jersey who hold associate degrees from accredited community colleges, Philly Voice reports.

PARK PLANS: The final design of a world-class skate park at State College's High Point Park has been released. Centre Daily Times (paywalled) reports the park could open by August of 2023. 

EEL TALK: Eels are back in the Susquehanna River system, decades after disappearing from the vital waterway and its tributaries. The Bay Journal says stocking efforts have been surprisingly successful.

RAIL WORK: A native of Pennsylvania now living in New York City says the "best office in America for productiveness" is a seat on an Amtrak train. Here are some tricks of the tracks, via Insider.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

*This week's theme: Newspapers
Yesterday's answer: Circulation 

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Becky C., John A., Eddy Z., Susan D., Barbara F., Vicki U., Don H., Hugh F., Mark O., Patricia M., Michelle T., Elaine C., Joel S., Susan N.-Z., Chuck M., Dan W., Irene R., Jim A., George S., Warren D., Jill K., James B., Dianne K., Tish M., Al M., David S., Stanley J., David W., Bill S., Lynne E., Becca S., Helen D., John P., Nancy S., Karen W., Kimberly D., Kerry F., Fred H., Jim M., Ted B., Moon M., Sandy B., Wendy A., Cynthia R., Sharon P., Kim C., and Daniel M.
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