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Hidden legal fees on your dime | Morning Newsletter

And, we’re on bird watch.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning.

We’re bringing you an investigation into the $10 million the Pennsylvania legislature spent on private lawyers. We found that lawmakers routinely shielded the purpose of the legal expenses. Meanwhile, we’re also taking you on a wild bird’s WILD ride.

OK, let’s get into it. And if you have thoughts about how to make this email speak more directly to you, send me one back.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman,

Over the last two years, the Pennsylvania legislature spent nearly $10 million on private lawyers for reasons that are (in many cases) impossible to identify.

It routinely shielded the purpose of those expenses, hiding which lawmakers and their staffs required representation — and why, according to our investigation. A review of thousands of pages of legal invoices and engagement letters from 2019 and 2020 by The Caucus and Spotlight PA shows the cases ranged from public records fights to secret personnel problems to attempts to overturn last year’s presidential election.

In many instances, Republicans and Democrats in both chambers made the reason for hiring lawyers invisible, flouting case law that requires them to make those critical details public. Other records were so vague it was impossible to identify the reason for the representation.

Keep reading for Angela Couloumbis and Sam Janesch’s full investigation into the money.

An objectively gorgeous falcon is soaring into our lives on the wings of a truly interesting story.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Game Commission decided that a reclusive forest dweller needed to be moved from a threatened species list to endangered.

And that’s not really flying with Mike Dupuy, a falconer who’s raised the bird-celebrity since it was a chick. Now that the species is officially endangered in the state, it’s unclear whether any of the state’s 200-plus licensed falconers like Dupuy would be allowed to take one to raise and fly.

But Dupuy’s a self-professed rebel of the falconry world who believes the study was insufficient, and he comes from “a long line of troublemakers,” he tells reporter Jason Nark.

Keep reading for this wild bird’s wild ride.

What you need to know today

  1. Chuck Peruto is running for district attorney while DA Larry Krasner ignores him and the race — and he’s not mincing words on that note.

  2. Republican lawsuits over Pennsylvania’s mail voting law have some Democrats quietly worried.

  3. This week, Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro will be announcing his run for governor.

  4. The FBI raided the home of Philadelphia Proud Boys’ vice president to gather info about Capitol attack plans.

  5. A 15-year-old was shot in North Philly on Sunday as he was leaving a vigil for a 13-year-old who was killed last week.

  6. Pennsylvania’s state universities recorded the most massive one-year enrollment decline in more than a decade.

That's interesting

🥩 Peep Craig LaBan’s video on one of Philly’s top ten restaurants of 2021.

🍳 And while Rihanna found love in a broken place, our very own deputy food editor Joseph Hernandez was out here finding self-love in an egg sandwich. Read his beautiful essay on self-eggceptance.

📀 We talked to Meek Mill about his new album, which he used as therapy. It’s called Expensive Pain, so keep going for the must-read interview.

🏋️ Check out these exercises that activate your core.

☕ Philly’s first Vietnamese coffee roaster, Càphê, has opened a cafe in Kensington.


“At least a handful of residents emerge from their homes just before 8 each evening and walk to the corners at the intersection of Emlen Street and West Mount Airy Avenue for the observance,” — columnist Jenice Armstrong writes about how Mount Airy residents gathered to lift George Floyd’s name.

  1. Ben Simmons comes crawling back to the Sixers to save money if not face, writes columnist Marcus Hayes.

  2. Members of the medical community need to rededicate themselves to researching young people of color and mental health myths, Saul Levin and Regina James write.

What we're reading

  1. The Atlantic has a take on how women are silenced less on Slack.

  2. It’s about time Philly Mag introduced us to a full review of an Airbnb tent on a roof in South Philly.

  3. Thanks to the New York Times, we know that during the Trump era there were gift exchanges — kind of like the ones you have with your friends — but instead there were cheetah furs involved.

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